Week 2 day one of Nashville’s virtual schools – a review

I woke up yesterday sometime before the sun came up this morning and read a set of emails and tried to set reminders for my kids’ online learning. Nashville is still easing into the virtual learning environment and right now I’m amazed that the kindergartners are able to even take the two classes they have scheduled.

TL;DR – remote school bumps, but moving forward.

Pictured – the former dining room / current school area, 3 desks, 3 laptops, 3 glowing mice

I’ve got no idea how my wife got into the principal’s morning announcements. It’s week two and I still don’t know where that link is (it’s in a PDF the principal sent out to parent’s emails evidently.) But I do know we got in and thought we had the wrong link because the principal was blind broadcasting the morning announcements to nobody. He jumped on the right meeting eight minutes in and we had morning announcements.

The next challenge was our Teams link to the classroom was hinted at in an email that neither of us had seen. Oh, it was sent, and it was done right, the meeting link was in the Teams app for my oldest and we discovered that a couple of minutes past when the class had started.

Totally unrelated I discovered that all mice in my house glow now

We’ve got a room devoted to laptops at this point. Because there’s no way the kids can do this we’re all working together during short bursts and then I usually go back upstairs during the class to attempt to get some work done on my main machine. If I’m needed I’ll be down on the lappy cursing the tiny little keyboard.

I don’t know how people can work with fewer than 3 monitors and a full sized keyboard, but maybe that’s just me.

The 6yo doesn’t have volume control. I don’t know, but I think she thinks she has to yell all the way to her actual school to be heard. Nothing stops her. I’m going to throw some headphones at her that give audio feedback and hope that will help, but she retains no bit of the words “don’t yell” beyond a minute or two. I’m doing asynchronous work so I keep stopping and trying to lower her volume as you can’t be in the same house and not have her overheard by every coworker on any video chat. She’s so loud that she breaks through mute. If she were a Marvel superhero she’d be Black Bolt.

Another glowing mouse

The 4yo’s first class started. There’re no Teams links, but a Schoology/Clever link that opens Teams. We get her in and the teacher works absolute magic – I have no idea how this teacher managed to get a group of 4 & 5yos to understand how to use a mouse, raise hands, etc, but she’s doing it.

6yo finishes her first class a few minutes after kindergartner starts hers and now has some free time until related arts. This happens while I’m dealing with a contractor for work and Kim is talking with one of her coworkers so my oldest essentially has to fend for herself as the other 3 humans in the house are all talking to other people. There’s a lot of the K class showing what cereal they have. All of them seem to be munching on something. All are fascinated by this strange world where people can show dry cereal to you from anywhere in the world.

I mean I didn’t plan on purchasing glowing mice

Done with the contractor I have all of a couple of minutes to talk to the 6yo before it’s time for her next class. This class is not in the Teams app, it’s through the portal and there’s no link for it. The only link I see is for the Wednesday edition of the class. I try it and sure enough that’s it. It’s Monday.

We have a power outage. I’m outside trying to get a house project done as I’m literally twiddling thumbs waiting on a tenant from work to reboot a computer. Power out to the whole neighborhood. I hear the screaming that the lights and AC are off. A couple of the classmates drop connection. My WiFi and internet keep on chugging because both are on a UPS in the event this crap happened. It did. Week 2 which today happens to be the 4th day of classes due to voting and starting on Tuesday last week.

I mean really, do all mice glow now?

4yo goes into a virtual class with a different teacher. There’re way too many people in this class but the teacher handles it. We find out later the schedule was messed up so two days of classes converged on the same teacher who rather than trying to get 12 kindys to locate their parents and go to the right class (which would have taken forever,) decided to just go with it.

I was told by my wife that everyone was done for the day. As I was dealing with a vendor at this point and a website developer I sort of agreed, while on the phone hugged my kiddos, high fived them, and said I’d be parenting in a bit.

My alarm that I’d set in the morning went off for the next class. Uh, finished up with developer, ran to computer to check emails and schedule, and sure enough there’s an email trail I read that the kindergartners had two classes and the 2nd graders have more.

Get the 6yo in that class on time actually, yank out my own laptop as Kim is now in a video call with work and I’m tech support, and spend the time answering emails, playing a little with the 4yo, and trying to get the 6yo to realize she’s so loud that everyone everywhere in town can hear her and that yelling at the laptop doesn’t make it hear her better.

Classes end at 1. The kids are fidgeting at this point and need ran. We’ve got a little kiddie pool outside to throw them in. It’s 95F outside. We’ve still got to work but it’s been decided to open the door so we can see and hear them in the pool in spite of said door being the absolute only thing keeping out the oppressive heat.

They last about 10 minutes before meltdown hits. But that’s unrelated. Or maybe not.

I send the principal an email explaining how I thought the process flow could be resolved. They’re all working on that this week. They’d been given a little less time than expected. I get it. Next pandemic I expect they will be better prepared.

We assumed the 2nd grader had some homework last night and decided to knock that out at 7. Went into the math section which is what it would have been in, clicked the only thing there, were transferred to another site, and within a few seconds a helpful voice was attempting to walk my 2nd grader through installing spyware.

Schoology -> slide teacher had prepared -> off site education site -> advertising that walks kids through installing garbage.
Should be noted the PDF thing shown here was not the spyware that it had tried earlier, this is just the video I got on advertising rotation

Paul King

Paul King lives in Nashville Tennessee with his wife, two daughters and cats. He writes for Pocketables, theITBaby, and is an IT consultant along with doing tech support for a film production company.