The MRL Morning Show

Weekdays 6:00AM-10:00AM

BRISTOL, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 26: A pupil uses a laptop computer during a english lesson at the Ridings Federation Winterbourne International Academy in Winterbourne near Bristol on February 26, 2015 in South Gloucestershire, England. Education, along with National Health Service and the economy are likely to be key election issues in the forthcoming general election in May. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Some parents have had almost a year to get used to the whole Google classroom and Zoom school thing, but they’re still making rookie mistakes. Last spring, many moms and dads had to figure out how to manage being tech support for their virtual learning student, and it seems they’ve still got a lot to learn about the do’s and don’ts of on-camera behavior. A teacher at a Manhattan public school says this is the stuff she’s tired of seeing parents do during online class time.

  • Giving kids the answers – This is the biggest issue for this teacher and her colleagues. Parents gesturing off screen is disruptive, but it’s also counterproductive to learning. And the educators say, “We can always tell when a parent gives their kid the answer.”
  • Talking in the background – Teachers hear it all, from you scolding the student’s sibling to asking what the kids want for lunch, and it’s all a distraction for the entire class. The fix? Do your chattering before your kid logs on or wait until a break to talk.
  • Making noise doing anything – “Please stop banging pots and pans like you’re in the musical ‘STOMP’ while your kid’s class is in session,” the teacher begs. And we get it, families are sharing devices and work spaces right now, but parents can try to make the learning environment as productive as possible by cutting down on distractions. So please, try not to dance, drink, watch TV or clip your toenails during your kid’s Zoom, this teacher has seen moms and dads do all these.
  • Asking questions during class time – Want to know about homework, schedules, or your kid’s progress? That’s what office hours are for, not class time.
  • Not wearing clothing – You would think this would go without saying, but no one should be naked while virtual learning time is happening. Students know this, but it’s the parents that tend to forget. And if that happens at your house and your partner walks by the screen with his shirt off, the teacher advises just playing it cool. “Drawing attention to it by apologizing just makes it worse,” she says. Because when the kids hear it, everyone’s making your screen fullscreen so they can get a good look.