Did I Say That?: Teachers catch parents’ naughty behavior during virtual lessons
Here’s a headline that will make you glad you’re out of school: “Florida parents are getting high and exposing themselves during kids’ virtual classes.” Or maybe you wish you were back in school.
Boca Raton teachers grumbled about what they have been seeing in the background while kids are glued to the computer screen. Mom and Dad, according to a report by KATV, have been walking around in underwear and bras, wielding joints as large as cigars, and quaffing 16-ounce brewskis in the morning. And they’re not even celebrities who think that kind of behavior is acceptable in public.
The parents at a recent school board hearing laughed it off, which makes you wonder what they’d say if the teachers came to class in skimpy garments while puffing on joints. Which raises a moral question: Teachers aren’t supposed to set a bad example, but it’s OK for parents to?
One teacher urged Mom and Dad to get their acts together: “Parents, please make sure you have on proper clothing when you are walking behind your child’s computer because we’ve seen them in their drawers, their bras, and everything else.” Everything else probably translates to nothing else.
It’s just another challenge as we move into the era of online teaching in America and grapple with the new abnormal.
The way things are going, don’t be surprised if the teachers get fired for infringing on parents’ rights to express themselves in their skivvies. One woman had an ankle monitor on her leg, but that’s not really against the law. After all, she already broke the law.
Another teacher complained: “When you are helping your children at their computer, please do not appear with big joints and cigarettes in your hand. Those joints can be as big as cigars.”
They’re exercising their rights as Americans and as we’ve all been told repeatedly, we have the right to do anything until it offends the thought police.
Some of the teachers expressed concern that innocent kids are being exposed to the unseemly life of hard-partying families and it could harm them. (On the other hand, it’s nothing they haven’t already seen on TV.)
Look at it this way, if college students have to be warned about “triggers” whenever they read Mark Twain to prevent meltdowns in class, little kids should be warned that something disturbing is about to walk across their computer screen: Close your eyes! BEER BELLY APPROACHING! Or avert your gaze! FELON WITH ANKLE BRACELET SMOKING WEED!
To avoid any unsavory sights in the background while I’m teaching, my wife rushes into the room 10 minutes before I crank up Zoom. She’s like the cleanup crew on Good Morning, America, with a dustbuster in one hand and Windex in the other, for a last-minute reorganization. This zealous activity usually leads to a domestic argument.
“Why do you have to do that right before I start class?” I’ll grumble. To which she inevitably responds, “Because this place is a mess.” She’ll vacuum the floor even though I insist that the only thing students can see, besides my bald head, is the ceiling fan.
“They can’t see the pizza crumbs on the carpet!”
“I don’t care, I can see them.”
And so it goes. Actually, 99 percent of what she cleans and organizes is out of the range of my webcam. Otherwise, I might get brought in for disciplinary action like Socrates was, for corrupting the youth of Athens.
One thing you can be sure of: I don’t smoke joints on camera — or off camera for that matter — and I’m always wearing clothes. I wear trousers and a shirt and even a tie because teaching in a T-shirt is only one more step in the downward spiral that America is already on.
I also brush my teeth because I can’t think of anything more distressing — another trigger opportunity to upset young minds — than a piece of food lodged between my front teeth while I’m trying to explain the outdated concept of ethics.
Joe Pisani can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.