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Online Learning is Killing Our Children

We are currently living in an epidemic of COVID-19 but many people do not realize that there are more casualties than those reported on the news.

Our children are dying! Their creative minds are dying and it is up to all of us to save this generation of learners so that our society has the promise of a future.

I have been a teacher for the past 18 years. I have taught a variety of subjects in grade levels Pre-K through college. One of the best practices that I pride myself on is the connection that I have with my students. I am empathetic of their struggles, misconceptions and interests. I genuinely care about making sure that my students find and nurture their hidden creative talents.

This is why I was excited about transitioning to online learning. I thought that it would be the perfect opportunity for my Butterfly Scholars program to not only help my students, but reach other scholars around the world with creative superpowers that were not being tapped into.

But as a teacher, the burden of sustaining online learning has been a time consuming, energy draining, thankless, and many times unfruitful task that consumes 8-10 hours a day. Online learning has become a weapon of mass destruction that is merely virtual babysitting while the interests and desires of our students are being dismissed and ignored. They are increasingly becoming addicted to technology and learning less from it than they are capable of. Having to keep up with the constantly changing mandates and curriculum has kept me so frustrated as a teacher that I have to work 10 times harder just to make sure that I continue to nurture the Butterfly Scholars that are already in my FLUTTER.

And one year after the school doors were closed to create empty castles

I find myself a facilitator of confusion

An excuse maker for incompetence

A blind person leading the blind into more darkness

And my heart is heavy knowing that my students are losing their creative sparks

They are losing what makes joy in their hearts

They are losing connection because we are apart

They are losing their minds without creative arts

And without the presence of art...there is no life

Our children are dying but you can not see

Because we have our eyes glued to swipe on IG

Our children are dying but you would not know

Because where you would see them they can not go

Our children are dying. They think we don’t care

Because we choose nonsense not knowledge to share

Our children are dying. Their minds are in need

To help them survive generation zombie

I sit...teaching to an empty screen

Faces I can not see

Voices I can not hear

Children that do not speak

Questions unanswered

Pages unwritten

Assignments undone

Books unread

Classrooms unused

Curriculum unorganized

And nothing understood

My love for teaching is dying

As the spark fades in my children’s eyes

Our children are dying

And the only thing I can do about it right now is speak

My 16 year old son is the hibernator.

He sleeps and sleeps and wakes to eat and goes back to sleep.

Even when he is awake he stares at the screen blankly looking like what is the purpose?...What is the point?

And I want to tell him to learn for the sake of knowing.

I want to tell him he must excel to get into a good college and keep growing.

I want to tell him that he will need this education in order to get a good job and support himself when he gets older. But in the back of my mind I know that we all know nothing and the jobs he would seek may not even exist.

He’ll still have to wait in line after the already unemployed masses.

He is being trained by the VR, RPG, FPS, AI culture to become a soldier behind the scenes. To drop bombs carelessly and earn points for the death he brings.

How can I blame him for wanting to sleep?

How can I blame him for wanting to hide?

How can I blame him for needing his space?

When his only mandate is that he stay inside?

My son is dying!

And school is a lie!

And video games are the only thing keeping him alive!

How will my legacy survive?

My 12 year old daughter is the socializer. She primps and preens two hours in the bathroom to get her hair “just right”.. She changes her outfit 3 times a day even though only her face shows up on the computer screen. And when she sits in front of her online classroom she has the mouse in one hand and her phone in the other on a conversation with with someone else. Her class switches on and off mute just long enough to figure out what is going on and shout in a quick answer before going back to her more important phone conversation.

And then there are the video chats...

And the discords...

And the Roblox worlds...

And the YouTube...

And the Tik Tok...

I can’t keep up as she races forward to connect to anyone she can.

Goodness knows who they are.

Goodness knows where they live.

Goodness knows what they may really want with my daughter, a young queen shedding her awkward preteen and growing into curves that mean

her body is getting ready for what her mind is not ready for.

And every time I check her phone or see who’s calling, or even invite her friends to speak to me so I can get to know them, a look of embarrassment washes over her face. She’s annoyed with me for caring about who she interacts with. She’s angry with the world for not being able to spend actual time with her friends. She’s doubtful of the society that cautions her to stay away when all she wants to do is belong and play. And everything she pseudo learns in school is wrong because it is really all made up on the fly. On an airplane that's trying to be build but is already launched and falling from the sky.

She is trapped in a prison called home and she feels she will never be free.

And a week long vacation was slapped right in the middle of her black history!

I am left by myself to teach her the legacy so she will be proud to be a descendant of African History.

My 4 year old is the explorer

He bounds around and bounces and runs. He jumps off of walls and does handstands on the couch

He yearns to be outside and have adventures in the park, at the store, in a garden, at the zoo, at his very first day of real school. He makes up songs for everything is does and hears the rhythm is every part of life.

He uses every surface as a drum and calls

Mom Mommy mother mommy Mommy! But he gets shushed too frequently. Told that he is too loud because the neighbors will be disturbed or because every other person in the house is glued to a computer screen doing "elearning". He is told to mute his energy.

And we all exist around him as a clear definition of our minds and behaviors already being conditioned by the computer. He whines when he can not do what he sees us all doing- what he thinks is simply playing on the computer. He wails like you beat him if you take away the phone or tell him its time to get off of the computer. He, at his innocent age, has already been addicted to the programming intended to dull the senses of our children.

How much longer will he be excited for his first day of school?

How much longer will he think learning is cool?

How much longer will he call for me instead of the colorful babysitters in the tv?

My baby’s childhood is dying!

Though I say he’s safe in quarantine I can’t be the only person who sees.

I can’t be the only person worried.

I can’t be alone in this misery. of seeing my children wither away from me.

My son's fire is dying before it ever got the chance to spark

And parental controls are barely keeping me out of the dark

How will his legacy start?

Our children are dying but you can not see

Because we have our eyes glued to swipe on IG

Our children are dying but you would not know

Because where you would see them they can not go

Our children are dying. They think we don’t care

Because we choose nonsense not knowledge to share

Our children are dying. Their minds are in need

To help them survive generation zombie

This was not intended to be the black legacy

It is for the many reasons I've just described that I am proud of the work I have done with the Butterfly Scholars over the past 10 years. Although it has been a difficult transition to online activities for the scholars, I know that they must continue to interact with nature. They must continue to learn about the new media that will be the form of communication for the future. They must continue to create and express their talents through art, writing and music. There is hope for this generation. As a parent even I struggle to keep them focused on learning so I know that there are other parents out there that are having the same issues. This is the purpose and motivation for the Chrysalis Camera Academy to continue and create even more Butterfly Scholars!

Butterfly Scholars content created by the scholars is going to be premiered on the Butterfly Scholars YouTube channel starting this summer. Whether children will be able to go outside and play together or not, my hope is that youth around the world learn from the experiences and stories of the Butterfly Scholars that have documented their learning and hopefully one day become a Butterfly Scholar themselves.

If you are a young scholar interested in becoming part of our FLUTTER or you are a parent looking for fun educational activities for your child this summer, visit our website and apply for our Chrysalis Camera Summer Academy.




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