Yesterday I texted my daughter’s teacher the word pancakes.

Because, you know, we’re living in a pandemic and it’s back to work and trying to keep things ‘normal’ and not panic our faces off and do all the things while worrying about our jobs and waiting on the vaccine / worrying it will give us rickets (it won’t, don’t @ me) and not letting our eyes roll right out of our heads when someone says they’re doing ‘dry January’  and constantly answering questions like ‘hey mom, is a hot dog a sandwich?’ or ‘hey mom, would you rather fight a bear-sized duck or a duck-sized bear?’

It’s a lot.

Texting someone a random word instead of adding it to your grocery list is super minor in the grand scheme. And on top of everything else, there’s school. ‘What’s going on with school?’ the grandparents ask every time we chat.

‘Pancakes’, I’ll tell them.

My kids’ schools keeping emailing us surveys regarding our “intentions” with regards to remote and/or classroom learning, as if we have a choice. And I keep filling them out saying YES! ABSOLUTELY YES! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD SEND THEM BACK! But then nothing happens until the next survey comes home.

And this got me thinking: imagine if the schools started asking us truly honest questions about how we are managing. Imagine if the school boards started admitting they are as clueless as the rest of us in terms of what the future holds. Wouldn’t that be refreshing?

I imagine those surveys would go something like this:

Dear parents and guardians,

The purpose of the following survey is threefold:

  1. To bury you in useless paperwork because we miss doing that and it makes us seem proactive
  2. To collect random data we have no intentions of acting on
  3. We’re genuinely curious as to how many of you have completely lost the plot

Kind regards,

The institution formerly known as your child’s school (IFKYCS)

1. If in-school learning becomes possible, will your child return to class?

  1. Oh f**k yes
  2. Oh hell no
  3. How quickly can I drop him off? Are you open now?
  4. Where is the school again?

2. If you plan to send your child back, what are your reasons?

  1. I’ve had enough of his shit
  2. He got new clothes for Christmas so….
  3. Um, I already have a job
  4. Math is hard

3. If you plan to keep your child home, please share your reasons

  1. Her legs have atrophied
  2. The house isn’t going to clean itself
  3. I haven’t emptied her lunchbox since September
  4. I’ve given up

4. What subject is your child currently enjoying the most?

  1. YouTube
  2. Social isolation
  3. Toe lint removal
  4. Making hamster mazes

5. How would you describe your child’s learning style during the pandemic?

  1. Mostly sobbing
  2. No pencils, only crayons.
  3. If it ain’t on the iPad it ain’t happening
  4. Learning?

6. Where does your child prefer to work when she is at home?

  1. Hanging upside down off her bed
  2. Splayed out on the couch, watching soaps
  3. Under the dining room table, in the fetal position, next to me
  4. Remote learning?

7. How prepared are you for your child to learn from home for the rest of the school year?

  1. I hope you’re joking
  2. Yes I’m prepared but his teacher will have to wear a mask when she comes over
  3. How much does it cost to move to New Zealand?
  4. Just kill me now

8. Which of the following aids would help your child learn at home?

  1. Reliable high-speed internet
  2. A crayon sharpener
  3. Anyone but me
  4. We are beyond help

9. Which of the following aids would help you support your child’s learning?

  1. Alcohol and/or cannabis
  2. A panic room
  3. Toilet Paper
  4. Essential Oils

10. Who is your primary source of emotional support during these trying times?

  1. Amazon
  2. My pajamas
  3. Simon from Bridgerton
  4. Siri

11. How often do you feel completely overwhelmed?

  1. Hourly
  2. Daily
  3. Only between midnight and 11:59 pm
  4. Since approximately 2007

12. What, if any, non-academic interests is your child currently pursuing?

  1. Among Us
  2. Extra-loud YouTube videos
  3. Roblox
  4. Annoying the ever-loving crap out of me

13. What is the most serious challenge facing your family over the next several months?

  1. Coronavirus
  2. Climate change
  3. World Peace
  4. Bathing

14. What are your goals for the upcoming semester?

  1. Not to get fired from my real job
  2. Not to kill anyone
  3. Transition teaching duties to Big Bird
  4. Remember the passwords to all forty-seven of my kids’ online learning portals

15. What has been the most rewarding part of supporting your child’s learning?

  1. Day drinking
  2. Spending more time with the dog
  3. Rewarding? Hahahahahahahaha
  4. Pancakes

Jen Millard is a writer who's not afraid to say what everyone else is thinking about parenting and relationships. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram via @jennemillard or at wineandsmarties.com.

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