Op-eds

Zooming in on the real heroes

  • Howard Feldman 2018
I have always liked the naughty kids. It might be that I was never one of the good or conventional ones, but they somehow seem more interesting to me. It helps that I’m not a teacher, and don’t have to deal with the consequences of their behaviour. Or that I don’t need to find a way to discipline them on a Zoom call.
by HOWARD FELDMAN | May 21, 2020

I laughed when an eight-year-old kid told me he had been kicked off his Zoom class because he entered his name as “Hacker”, and this scared the other children. I found it hilarious when my daughter told me of an entire class who changed their name to “Reconnecting…” so that the teacher thought that everyone’s internet had gone down, and found it disturbingly funny when she showed me a music video (moves and all) that they had filmed in a maths class. Forgetting for a moment that it’s a pretty important subject.

I felt real sympathy for one of my child’s teachers who accidentally managed to merge herself into her virtual background and gave the entire class looking like she had become one with a drum – the musical instrument – not the thing that stores oil.

Needless to say, no one mentioned the musical convergence to her, and I can only imagine what she thought when she watched the recording of the lesson sometime later.

The muting and unmuting, the videos on and off, have to be unbelievably challenging for teachers, many of whom are new to this online world. If ever there was a situation where they are disadvantaged by their students, it’s in this space, which makes their approach, tenacity, and sheer resilience nothing short of remarkable.

No less awe-inspiring are the parents, particularly those of young children. I have stopped calling the helpline every time I hear, “Please hold on while I go and murder some children!” while on a business call. I also appreciate the government’s genius plan to limit alcohol. I, for one, wouldn’t make it past 10:00 without a stiff drink if I had to supervise a maths tutorial.

Whereas no school is perfect, I believe that for the most part, schools have risen to the challenge in a remarkable and magnificent way. They were handed a situation not of their choosing, many without much time for preparation, and have done a remarkable job. From play schools through to high schools, what I have seen (anecdotally) is a system of care, support, love, and education that we should take a moment to feel proud of.

In essence, this is a shout out to the teachers, rabbis, head teachers, administrators, and social workers. This is a shout out to parents who haven’t beaten their children or resorted to alcohol. Equally so, this is a shout out to our children, who in spite of being told over and over that they are a weak and mollycoddled generation, have shown the strength and character that makes them, in my eyes, the real heroes of the COVID-19 world.

2 Comments

  1. 2 Wendy Kaplan Lewis 21 May
    Amazing 

  2. 1 Estelle Zawatzky 22 May
    Howard Feldman you are a scream. 
    Love your style of writing.
    Love the fact that you can still see the world through children's eyes.
    Bless you.  

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