By Jo Mathis/AAPS District News Editor
Step inside Tierra Jackson’s Ann Arbor home, and it’s soon evident there’s a lot of learning going on.
In the living room, Jackson is teaching math to Logan third graders from her makeshift office in the corner of the room. In other rooms behind closed doors, Trinity, 17, Qaurtney, 14, and Jasmine, 12 are engaged in their online classes.
“Day by day,” says Jackson, “we’re making it work.”
Jackson says her third grade students are tech-savvy and becoming more so.
“I think that students are enjoying being in class—even virtually—because it has given them a sense of routine again,” she says. “Although my kiddos can’t control what happens with Covid in their lives, when they have a set routine and daily timeline, they have a feeling of something they can control or at least know what to expect. They can also control their behaviors during meetings, how they participate, and what their output on Schoology when they turn in their work. Again, just having this structure gives kiddos comfort while learning in a pandemic.”
Her advice to other parents?
“Breathe!” she said with a laugh.
She said it’s also important to take breaks together as a family—away from the computers.
“Another piece of advice I would tell parents is to lean on their parent friends,” Jackson said. “That saying ‘It takes a village’ is so true. I rely on the support of my teacher friends, other parent friends, and friends from church. And I help them as well. For example, I often share my schedules and templates that I make with other teachers and parent friends, and we give each other advice, guidance, and support.”
Jackson says her daughters work independently, which means she can concentrate on teaching while the girls are taking their online lessons in their own rooms.
Trinity and Qaurtney say they never expected to start their senior and freshman years online, but say there are pros and cons.
“It’s more organized that I thought it was going to be,” said Trinity.
“I think everyone’s thought about what their first day of high school is going to be like and this isn’t it,” she said. “But I can’t complain about it.”
Jasmine is starting her first year at Clague Middle School, and says there are two things she looks forward to seeing when school reopens in person: her friends.
“And,” she said, remembering that rite of passage to middle school, “I have a locker!”
MAIN PHOTO: Left to right: Jasmine, Qaurtney, Tierra, and Trinity Jackson