Good Intentions Gone Awry

Here I sit in an empty classroom: after administrators listened to meteorological reports last night, they decided to make instruction virtual. I appreciate that administrators prioritize safety over quality of instruction. However, it sometimes feels like we’ve slipped down the slippery slope of weather-born silliness. We’re not talking about staying in Gulfport for a category five hurricane. We’re talking about staying away from Hooper because there’s a chance of strong weather. It rains. People get wet on the way to campus and class. If there’s a tornado, we have safe places to go while we’re here.

On the upside: it isn’t like classes have been canceled while they’re taking place. That’s good!

I suppose I am revealing an old and curmudgeonly side, but I have grown so weary of virtual instruction that I would happily drive through weather of all sorts to teach in classrooms of actual (rather than virtual) students.

Another good intention: yesterday, Gov. Reeves signed into law House Bill 633, which requires the state Department of Education to include computer science in its college and career readiness curriculum. That’s a lovely idea. However, the reality is that very few people who qualified to teach computer science will be in Mississippi classrooms. Instead we’ll have coaches throwing powerpoints on the screen and calling it instruction in computer science.

We can’t really blame coaches–or any other teachers–for being asked to teach content they don’t know. The broader issue involves the divergent expectations that parents, schools, and legislators have for the children they want to educate.

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4 Responses to Good Intentions Gone Awry

  1. Zuyi Li says:

    I agree with Dr. Easterling. Students should still be able to attend class even there is a possible strong storm. The majority of us have lived in the South for most of our lives, storms are part of our life. Classes should be able to be adjusted base on the teacher’s internet connection. If some teachers are having internet issues, they can just let that class know they will be virtual or the class is canceled, instead of making the whole school virtual.
    For the second part, I understand computer science will be the future, technology is in everything we use today. However, with the state our state is in, making computer science a requirement is a waste of time. Without a proper instructor, students will lose interest very quickly. Let’s just say Gulfport High School, I took a computer science course in 9th grade. When I was in the class, the teacher just assigns reading assignments and expect students to be able to learn by themselves. This year I talk to one of my old friends from Gulfport High, there is now an AP course in computer science offered at Gulfport High. The problem is that he told me the teacher is learning with the students. When he asked the teacher questions, the teacher always said “I will get back to you later.” In Mississippi, not all school has the quality of teaching like MSMS. Instead of spending money on something that is a complete waste of time, why not allocate money to something that will be more meaningful and create a bigger impact. I remember Dr. Easterling said he has a list full of things that can be improved.

  2. Chingun Tsogt-Erdene says:

    I agree and disagree with Dr. Easterling. I understand and agree that students should attend in-person classes even if there is a possible chance for a strong storm. Campus is safe and there are a lot of shelters and safe spots to go in if a tornado happens to occur. However, is it really worth the risk? Although there is a small chance that a student or a teacher could get hurt from traveling to or from Hooper, why risk it? I think the school is just doing its part to avoid any risks for the students and staff. Although there are two sides to this, I believe it should be the teacher’s choice.

    For the second part, having computer science required in curriculums is a good step in the future. That is because computer science is the future and many should learn how to code. New jobs are being creating because of this. Although it is a good step, it seems to have a downside that not many people are suited enough to teach computer science. I think that all schools should be required to teach computer science if they have the instructor available. By having a person not qualified to teach, why waste time doing so? There are so many better things to do with that time.

  3. Courtenay Sebastian says:

    Oh my gosh, I totally agree with you Dr. E. I have not seen any bad weather come from these ” potentially” hazardous weather conditions. I think its dumb, however I do understand if we have students or faculty who lose internet or power.

    To touch on the computer science topic, I agree. However there are great computer science programs online, and I think, even if its just a Microsoft office and social media class, I think it would be useful.

  4. Khushi Patel says:

    I agree with Dr. Easterling. Administrators should not make the school virtual because of a strong storm. It should be decided by each teacher if they want to have class or not or make it virtual especially because we live on campus and do not have to drive anywhere. If there is a power outage or the Wi-Fi is not working, then it makes sense for them to cancel classes for that day.

    For the mandatory computer science class, I both support and do not support it just like Zuyi. A good reason why I support it is that ever since COVID, we have been using technology a lot more and this will be our future. It is like everyday use. However, this is only useful with proper instructions taught in school. I do agree that if coaches, who most likely would not know anything about it, are teaching those classes, then it is like they are doing it with no meaning. That is just wasting everyone’s time. It also a waste of money. If the state wants to do this, it should do it the right way. They should also make sure that there is a teacher who is qualified to teach computer science to make it beneficial to students.

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