Today was the first day back to school for MDCPS (Miami Dade County Public Schools). I was a teacher in this district, for a short time, but have worked in the school system in various roles. This is truly an objective post, so I give that disclaimer for transparency purposes only.

MDCPS did not have a good first day due to technical issues, and you know, it is expected from all districts and education as whole system regardless of grade or degree. Technical issues are abounding right now, but take into consideration that no one really was or is now ready for this.

Let’s start at the top. Yes, the students. The students are not ready to be home and being “in school” at a computer. Believe it or not, though, that desire for in-person experiences that feel unmet, as if they will always be unmet, is simply a mindset. The perspective students have is first day, new friends, new adults, new rules and procedures. This being said I believe teachers should consider creating that mindset including “distance learning” now as a norm and what is expected of students. Teachers need to STOP blaming the Pandemic. STOP blaming Politicians and Superintendents, and take control of their classes and the students in them. Create a learning environment making distance learning conducive, productive, and possible!

Teachers… I think the above statement is focused on you as actor, but your students as recipients of what ONLY YOU can do best. You’ve been taught and have been practicing classroom management, learning theories, teaching methods, the use of manipulatives etc… why exactly is it different now that you are taking this virtual? It IS NOT! You are all possibly more experienced than I in the classroom working with elementary and secondary school students. That means that you would know how to “get creative” much better than I.

I am a human factors psychologist. This means that the interactions and interfaces that we have digitally and virtually is what I develop and understand best to work with. Then I add in the cognitive aspects of how our brains work and think. How we perceive visuals, sense, and eventually manifest via actions. And so again… or this first time… “get creative!”

Parents… STOP dropping your children off at school! Your child’s education is best when extended to all aspects of their life. You possibly want it to be. Consider the respect they need to show their teachers, fellow students, administrators. I’m thinking you may like to see that behavior amongst siblings as well? Just projecting what I’d love to see for my nieces and nephews. And so… I am not saying you should become your child’s teacher. I do want you to know though that right now your students and their teachers need a great deal of support and it’d be great if you can help along the way.

I’m sure tomorrow will be a great day! Be patient during this learning curve. Miami Dade County Public Schools… Good luck, and Godspeed!

From resident human factors psychologist,

Lily