We're living in a new time with no one able to predict when it'll end. There's an old normal we don't realize we're without until it's too late, teaching and schools being one of those old norms, living in the past like some kind of far off, underappreciated dream. While educators might have been taken advantage of before, the hope coming out of this new virtual learning environment is that we'll all see them for the dedicated individuals they are. In the meantime, however, let's enjoy a bit of the controlled insanity coming out of this.

Reddit user, u/MICHE621, wanted to hear about what it's like on the front lines when they asked:

Virtual Teachers of Reddit (Due to COVID-19), was it shocking to see how some of your kids actually live? And if so, what was the most extreme story?

Every Moment Is A Teaching Moment

homer simpson summer GIF Giphy

My middle school team agreed to not require kids to show their face/background. One time a kid surprised me though. His little brother (probably 8 years old) was bothering him during one of the last few classes, and they had a pool. I was honestly more surprised by the pool since I teach Title 1. A student said to just throw the kid in the pool. I stopped this and probably gave the most important life lesson ever

"WAIT WAIT WAIT!!! There's a checklist you need to go through before throwing someone in a pool

  1. Can they swim
  2. Do they have electronics on them
  3. Is it safe?

If it passes all of those throw em in the pool"


"Can't Question Me If I'm Not Here." - Student Logic

I would love to tell ya'll. only if my students actually turned on their cameras! I do enjoy talking to myself for 6 hours and reading chat messages because their microphone is muted too. Suddenly everyone is shy, i really don't get it.


Clearly you don't teach 4th grade.


Interrupting Parents Say "Moo."

This will probably get buried but I thought I'd share a couple of little funny moments to lighten the thread- wow!

The first was a new kitten the student was very excited to show me, that proceeded to climb up onto a tall bookshelf/desk thing in the background while we were talking - before gracefully losing its footing, falling from the top of the bookcase, taking out a lamp while a flourish of papers fell about the room. Scared the shit out of both of us, it was great.

The second one was having the father of a student burst into the room shirtless during a one-on-one , asking what the student was doing on her laptop (weekend classes).

"What are you doing on your computer, Jane*? It's family time, Jane. We're all waiting for you so we can start a movie, stop talking to your friends now."

He then leaned into the camera, looked right at me:

"Bye Jane's friend- Jane has to go now. Say goodbye Jane's friend!"

She was so embarrassed she could barely speak & I was laughing so hard I struggled to as well.

"Sir, I'm Jane's teacher- this is the class that you paid for."

*Names have been changed to protect the innocent.


It's Not Always About The Money

I work for a private school and most people see those kids as super privileged. Many live by the sea and have huge houses and gardens.

One girl is an only child and her very strict dad made her take a 1 hour screen break in the garden at lunch every day. She said she was bored and lonely and the only contact she had with her friends during lockdown was on her phone. So she just sat there.

Her neighbour donated her rabbit to her to care for during lockdown so that she had something to do in that hour.

They may be rich but their parents are super busy. It was a reminder that nothing is simple in this world.


It's The Chickens That'll Get You

While I was still doing online classes, one of my students was sitting in a sheet-metal home with half of the roof missing. I could hear very loud chickens squawking, motorbikes driving by, and all sorts of farm animals. I couldn't hear a word the boy said.

I teach English in Vietnam.


Look At Me! Look At Me!

I was shocked at how one of my students managed to stay focused in every class despite her wild little brother goofing off in the background and doing everything he could to get her attention.


Clarifying That Perspective

A colleague and I were driving around town delivering work and school stuff to our kids.

He went to go find one of his students and found them in a rough built shack behind a gas station. He said it was about the size of his camper and had 4 people living in it. His is a mostly affluent school so he was really shocked to see that.

Put things in perspective a little


Bouncing In The Club

Every time when one kid in my class had to unmute their mic, there was music in this house at some ridiculous volume


Working Wherever You Can

I had a kid with a loaner Chromebook from school. He would always Zoom from a car while parked in a Starbucks parking lot.

After some digging I found out that his family is homeless. They go to Starbucks for the free WiFi.


When In Doubt: Always Use Pets.

lisa simpson cat GIF Giphy

Here's a positive one. When my students send me pics of their homework, ocassionally there will be a pet on their bed or a paw in the pic. I made a big deal out of how delighted I was to see pets and then the assignments with pet cameos came rolling in including farm animals posing with homework!!


Students Are The True Jugglers

I have seen many houses by now. Some students are better off than I thought, but then others have all their siblings sitting around them (at least 7 of them), while my student is cooking and helping the little ones whilst trying to learn Hamlet.


Roughing It Indoors

[Three] kids and two parents living in a single basement room. Electricity from cables slung across the ceiling, a camping gas stove to cook on. Nicest kids you could hope to meet, too.


You Learn What A Disappointment Some Parents Are

My fifth graders would have their younger siblings with them on Zoom, crawling all over them, screaming, grabbing supplies, etc. Even though a parent was clearly home. They were used as babysitters whether doing schools stuff or not. Parents meanwhile were on the phone having loud conversations or watching tv.


Surf And Squat

Ive had at least 4 or 5 kids take their ipads into the bathroom and sit on the toilet mid class. Like come on Leo just f-cking disable your camera.


Orc. Porn.

You would not believe how many kids (or kids family Members) use the school provided devices for porn.

Orc porn was the standout.


Seeing What Kids Do After School Hours

I teach fifth grade and I had a student who kept apologizing for getting her work in late. She said she had to watch her younger brothers and feed them dinner because he mom worked two jobs outside of the home. While not really shocking considering the district I'm in, I never would have guessed this was her circumstance. She's 10 and had the responsibilities of a parent.


Not surprised, but I gave 1:1 help to a kid (13m) who was babysitting 3 toddlers. It was exhausting just watching him, can't imagine actually being there 24/7.


You're HOW Rich?

One of my students seemed to live in an actual mansion. I thought it was a green screen or something, but saw their parents walking around behind them later.


Too Much Of A Sneak Peek...

I had a kid who was stuck in the middle of a custody thing mid-quarantine. He was so excited to show us his new digs when he moves in May- the place he was excited about had gaping holes in the drywall, graffiti written all over the inside of the house, and broken crap everywhere. But he got run of the whole basement floor, and there was enough land for his homeless buddy (also a student of mine) to park his mobile home out back.

I didn't want to know what living conditions he'd come from to be excited about that...


Too Early In The Morning For This Crap

A student wasn't allowed to talk in the morning, so she had to whisper it if she had a question about something.


The New World Order

looking back homer simpson GIF Giphy

I've done virtual since March and did it over summer for summer school.

Yes, but most shocking moment)

I saw a mom in a thong. It took me a second to realize I was seeing the backside of this unsuspecting middle aged woman (no judgement, I'm 40, just giving a visual--this was not some penthouse forum moment).

As a heterosexual female witnessing a woman I do not know in a thong, yes, it was shocking. Glad it was me instead of a male coworker. Luckily, I use two computers, one for zoom and one to actually check their online work. I pretended to be very very focused on the other computer as if I did not see what I saw.

However, it did make me realize the teenage girl and the mom share a room, and that's probably why she usually keeps the lights off and the camera angled away from the room. This was the one time the lights were on. And, if you know zoom, you know the break out rooms and how they work. I had the student by herself in a break out room. I suspect they didn't expect me to be popping in to check on her right at that moment.

No one had said or acknowledged anything, so I think in in the clear.

After this, I think zoom needs a "Hey, I'm joining your break out room," option. Kinda like a polite knock.

Weird world we live in, trying to figure out a new etiquette.


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