The Guiding Hand - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1698007

The Guiding Hand

It was once thought to be one of the best jobs — with job protection, tenure, benefits, a solid salary — but it may not be so cushy when we take a closer look and attempt to do it.

Millions of parents, moms and dads alike, are getting a taste of what it takes to work with their children at the kitchen table for two to three hours a day. The job is intensified when there is a second-grader, a fifth-grader and an eighth grade middle school student trying to tackle pre-algebra and simple geometry (needless to say, skills that parents forgot or never mastered decades ago).

Space is tight, patience is raw, and only one laptop is usually available per household! The second-grader tries to connect with his teacher online as his sister, in the fifth grade, wants to hear her assignment for the day. The eighth-grader attempts to reread the math problem, since he doesn’t quite understand the problem. No one is nearby to assist. Mom and Dad just don’t know how to help or where to begin and are somewhat embarrassed and frustrated to say so.

It has become an impossible task, and the kids can’t possibly succeed under these circumstances. Yes, for the short term, there may be no alternative — but to continue for months or a full term, it becomes unacceptable!

Nothing beats the interaction and dynamic of the classroom with dialogue of individual responses and feedback from a teacher. Don’t discount the value of pupil-to-pupil responses, where ideas “bounce off one another.”

The isolation of the kitchen table can never compete with the dynamic of the science lab, art room, gym or even the lunchroom. Your home school experience is devoid of feeling, sensibility and interaction.

It is the human connection that allows us to grow, develop, and mature into the young adults and functioning members of society that we hope to become.

COVID-19 may stifle our creativity for a few months, but we will return to our schools and colleges with a renewed appreciation and thirst for “the human bond that ties us all together,” and a renewed appreciation for the master of our classrooms — the guiding hand, the teachers and the instructors.

Ronald Imundi

Larchmont and Southampton Village


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