School Days

people on a video call

Welcome to Metroburg ISD Middle School Orientation for Virtual Class Instruction. I am your host Jane Smith. We are just going to wait a few minutes for everyone to hop on our Webex and then we’ll begin.

Nearly 150 people are talking at once. Above the ruckus, the following is heard:

“Daaaaadddd, turn off your camera.”
Agitated female speaking a middle eastern language punctuated by shouts.
Several very loud small children and babies crying in the background.
“I have a question about my child’s AP class.”
“How can I access my child’s assignments?”
“When are we going to get schedules?”
“Mom, put your microphone on mute.”

Now, if everyone would please put your microphone on mute and your camera to off it will help the chat flow better. Additionally, if you would please type your questions in the chat on the sidebar my partner, Ted, will answer your questions while I give my presentation which I will be sharing on-screen with you.

No one, like not a single person, puts their mic on mute.

Ted, how can I mute everyone? There isn’t a button for me to mute everyone. No, Ted, it’s not highlighted. Ted, how do I share the screen with everyone? No, Ted, the share button isn’t highlighted either.  Jane is clearly distraught and looks like she doesn’t know if she should cry or cuss.  She definitely needs a drink.

Still, not a single person mutes their mic, and several people of Indian descent continue to pepper the host with questions about schedules, AP classes, and the gifted program.  Each voice becomes progressively louder so as to be heard over the other. The noise in my earbuds is deafening. I’m about to click “leave meeting” and just pray to God the slideshow is emailed later when out of nowhere above all the other voices:

“OHMYGOD, like I’m having really bad anxiety right now with all this noise is this a presentation or a Q and A?!” 

Poor Ted finally figures out how to help our host, Jane mute everyone and share her screen.  This online orientation is now roughly 8 minutes in. If this is any indication how any of the online classes are going to go we are well and truly screwed. 

Incidentally, I know these presentations were delivered by administrators, not teachers. I know there will be hiccups. Technology will not work. Webex invites won’t get sent. The internet will go out. At some juncture, the day will be totally fubar and everything will be a shit show. But, I know many of my teacher friends are working hard to make it right for the kids. 

I’ve told my kids to try their absolute best and stay flexible. That’s the best any of us can do.

Now, will someone tell Mr. Patel and Raja’s mom (no kidding actual people from my Webex) to calm their tits about the freaking AP class and mute their mics.

Photo Credit: Anna Shvets for Pexels.


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