Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Grandma Loses Her Shit

Today, after a long stretch of keeping little boys' attention on what they needed their attention to be on, we were winding down to a close. William was playing Kahoot with his classmates during science class. It is a jeopardy type game that is particularly well suited to virtual learning. The kids ring in on their computers, and the competition helps the information stick in William's mind. 

Feeling like it was safe to leave him, I headed out to help J finish up his math worksheet. 

I heard a video playing from the office about the sun, and earth's rotation around the sun. That's a danger sign since William tends to zone out during videos unless he knows someone is watching him. 

J and I were nearly finished so I gave him some time to play a math game and I headed into the office. 

A voice kept yelling, "Unmute, William, Unmute. William, do you hear me? WILLIAM!" 

William was goofing and making faces at the camera. 

"Stop it. Do not unmute. You focus on that video!"

And the argument began. He had to unmute, he insisted. 

"You do not!" I told him, "Where's your teacher?"  I asked. "The rules are you stay muted and watch the video. You unmute if you have a question."

William continued to insist that he had to unmute because all the kids were. The voice in the background kept yelling his name. Another child had a group of small kids running and screaming in the background. 

"How can you even hear the video?" 

He admitted he couldn't. 

At that point the teacher popped in. 

"What's the rule about muting", I asked, without waiting to be recognized. "You can't even hear the video! We've got someone yelling at him repeatedly to unmute." 

"Who's doing THAT?" the teacher demanded. The class was silent. "William! Who's doing that?"

William refused to 'give up' his friend. I realized I had put him in a bad spot, and butted out, ashamed of myself. 

The video started back up again, and so did William's friend.  Gavin was horsing around and calling to William once again. He began talking in funny voices. William began making faces. "Stop it!" I said to William very sharply. "You've got work to do, and unless you're intending on staying after school, you need to buckle down and get it done." 

William continued on with the lesson, but it just got to the point when he was trying to answer the questions, the noise was too much. 

I said, firmly, "Mute that sound right now!" 

"Grandma!" he said, "Gavin and I are supposed to be working together!" 

I snapped, "Well, Gavin does NOT appear to be interested in working. You turn off his sound, and do those questions, and then you take your quiz. I am totally not kidding here." 

Realizing that he'd pushed his grandmother just about far enough, he did that. He focused on the questions and got a solid 80% on his test. 

His friend was still making faces when I said, "Okay, now you are done. Shut down your laptop. Your mother is waiting."

William is going to be absent on Thursday, so his mother sent a quick e-mail to the teacher from our computer. 

When his teacher answered in her polite little way, I sent a reply to thank her. I also said, "I also feel as if I have to apologize for breaking in to your class this afternoon. It is challenging to keep William focused, and it's even harder by the end of the day. Science class was especially difficult today."

I haven't heard back, but I'm pretty sure that real teachers don't lose their shit. 


  1. Gavin sounds like a bit of a livewire 🙄.
    I am so glad that I changed my mind about becoming a teacher back in the 1970s.

  2. One year ago, who would have imagined any of this in 2021!

  3. Heck, Andrew, I couldn't have imagined it in 2020 either...but here we are. Jaycee, you know who's a bit of a live wire? My grandson. He does well if someone is sitting beside him keeping his toes to the fire. But if left to his own devices, he'll sit passively, not doing anything at all until the day is done. If he's put next to a live wire? Well, then you've got two live wires. Definitely an external locus of control, and by the end of the week, his locus is loco.

  4. It must be really difficult to try and teach at home. You must have an infinite amount of patience. Well done.

  5. er...what is this 'infinite' that you speak of, Northside?

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  7. Wow that last comment is rather left field and possibly nothing at all to do with infinite patience or wisdom!!

    When we did school from home, the 10yo did quite well when she was following the list of things that had to happen - if she thought we weren't paying enough attention to it (and at first we didn't) she tried to get away with stuff.

    We learned.

  8. Well, those that don't lose their shit probably have a flask of Teacher's Little Helper nearby to take the Edge off. If the Grandchild I'm Raising was any Younger than High School right now I'd be losing my shit right, left and center... clearly I was never cut out for Homeschooling or even remembering, half a Century after Graduating, what the Hell they're even talking about in School nowadays. I should be Fired as a Pandemic Home School Teacher, I'm clearly not up to the Job... tho', they probably don't Fire Volunteers not getting Paid to do this... do they? I would Resign... but, we gotta try to get her thru High School now some kinda way... *LOL*

  9. I have several close friends whose kids are learning virtually since last spring. I think everyone of those parents are about ready to "lose their shit". So it isn't just you.

  10. Oh, I think real teachers lose their shit all the time. They just do it in a professional way! Couldn't the teacher hear Gavin talking to William and see him making faces? I don't understand why all that disruption was happening and the teacher wasn't on hand to tell them to can it and pay attention. When Dave teaches via Zoom he sees all the students simultaneously and I'm pretty sure he controls the audio.

  11. I am not sure what was going on with that. Her picture was there, but she was not in her place. Bear in mind that she's homeschooling HER children simultaneously.

  12. I really feel for all those who are homeschooling. I used to struggle enough to get my son to do his homework when he was little [he has Aspergers] and it would often end in tears and not just him either. Arilx

  13. I do have to say, Aril, that when William goes home, I just feel like I have spent the whole day being strict. I miss just having fun with him. He's very intelligent. He almost certainly has ADHD. But he reads beautifully and generally a book a week or better. He is science oriented, but he is used to wandering from topics that catch his interest. Most of his sentences begin with "Did you know..." I don't want to squelch his curiosity, but he also needs to understand that school is not something that you choose or not choose to do.

  14. This is a tough situation for William and you; it puts you in a disciplinary position versus a strictly grandmother one. (which is the relationship you want) But, as the saying goes, needs must. I taught for 37 years, and yes, teachers do lose their shit. Most of the time I did so in private, but there were a couple of times when I let loose.


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