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.