Tomorrow I have the joy and discomfort of seeing my only daughter off to college for her senior year. After having her home since late March, it has been an interesting, fun – and eye-opening experience. Not being a day-to-day part of her life for 3½+ years, it has presented many educational challenges for dad.
First, I could not be prouder as a father and more appreciative of her mother! With all the personal setbacks I have felt with individual failures along the parenting journey, seeing the result is rewarding. It demonstrates that with a good goal, solid strategy, strong commitment, and mixed execution, success is still possible.
Her decision to go back this fall for her final campus semester (she is supposed to be student teaching her last semester this Spring – another story) has presented us, along with so many parents, some interesting decision making. Is it safe? Is it effective? What are the costs of delaying, etc.?
Another wrinkle is that she was given several “sponsorship” opportunities with neighbors and other acquaintances. These all dealt with her being an in-house mentor for a group of children doing virtual learning from home. The money being offered came close to what a 1st-year full-time teaching job would pay.
Ultimately her choice was for on-campus learning and in-school practicums, which she felt were the only beneficial ways for her to continue her education to become a teacher. She felt that her virtual experience during the later part of the Spring semester left her less prepared. In her attitude for being ready to mentor young kids, she felt this completion of her on-campus learning was important.
She balanced her desire to complete the preparation she feels she needs for the next step in her life against the health risks presented to all of us today. Understanding the risks for a healthy 21-year-old, practicing safe behaviors, and limiting her interactions with friends who, when it comes to COVID, are like-minded people were all considered. She has been able to observe that, when practiced in business and personal life, this has a substantial minimization of the risk.
I cannot speak for everyone’s situation and decision requirements regarding education. I do understand its importance as a learning and development tool, not just a checklist item. I appreciate my daughter believes this also and needs to lean into that belief against the current and future challenges and risks that she’s facing.
I pray for my daughter and all those people in your community for smart choices and safe decisions – for everyone, that is a personal decision. I do have a deep appreciation for our children’s education and the critical role teachers play in that. They are our future and deserve our best now and into the future.