This past year has introduced our world to a whole new set of vocabulary: social distancing, quarantine, hybrid, asynchronous, remote learning…the list goes on and on.

I was left thinking about this new language today as my morning of distance learning was interrupted over and over again by first graders announcing that they were experiencing glitches.

“Ms. Carey, you’re glitchy. You sound like a robot.”

“I’m glitching. Everyone is frozen.”

“I can’t hear anything!”

Each time someone “glitched,” I took a deep breath and tried to get us through the technology obstacles. Today was a super windy day in Connecticut, so I wonder if maybe the weather had something to do with the extra glitches. Who knows? Either way, they made our day very disjointed. Luckily, the first graders are now quite familiar with many of the common fixes-none ever guaranteed. I sent several chat messages instructed those who lost sound to log out and come back. They’d give me a thumbs up, leave and come right back.

I’m often wonderstruck by just how these first graders have grown this year, how much stronger and more flexible they have grown with all the glitches that they have been forced to endure. Last week during conferences, I think I told every parent how these kids are the true rockstars of the pandemic.

Many of my students haven’t seen anyone outside of their home in over a year now. They are six and seven years old and they spend three hours a day directing their own learning. I always think about how they could curl up and take a nap on their bed, abandon their screen to play Legos, or flat out refuse to build words on their whiteboards. But they keep showing up and giving their all-glitches and all.

15 thoughts on “Glitches

  1. That is a pandemic word — glitch! My remote first grader says, “Mrs. Sherriff, you’re glitchy” as if it’s totally normal — well, I guess for him, and your crew it sure has become normal! I admire how you constantly admire how the kids are the rockstars of this whole thing! You have been a gift to them all!


  2. So many new words – and so many new skills. If we ever wondered whether or not children want to learn, well, now we know the answer: YES! I’m astonished at what they will do & how hard they will try in this odd pandemic education we are offering. Here’s to less wind and fewer glitches tomorrow!


  3. Aren’t kids amazing? You’re so right—they are rock stars. As the parent of one of them, I hope that resilience is something that sticks with them for life!


  4. As we return fully to classrooms next week, I was struck by how the kids were ambivalent about the move. So many of them enjoy school without commuting. Having breakfast during morning meeting, using the hand raising sign and emojis to respond, getting a very close look at the book I’m reading. With no recess and lunch in the cafeteria, no music, art, or p.e, the fun part of school seems a distance memory to many. I’m sure they will rally. As you say, they are very flexible.


  5. Glitchy is such a pandemic word. I have a sense, though, that once this remote struggle is past, we’re going to be doing lessons on precise vocabulary, and “glitchy” is going to become a word like “thing” or “stuff.” We’ll be saying, “Can you be a little more precise about this glitch? Is the screen frozen? Is there a lag? Is the volume low? Is the sound breaking up?
    It’s been a glitchy year, but there’s been lots of evidence of how adaptable kids can be.


  6. This past week a second grade teacher said at PLT: “Think of this – the kids coming to second grade next year missed the end of kindergarten and possibly a lot of first grade.” What children have endured this past year – and overcome – is astonishing. There’s nothing like a second-grader’s world-weary sigh online: “Mrs. Haley – you’re glitching.” Alas. That might be true on multiple levels-!


  7. I am continuously amazed by the flexibility of young learners, who despite glitches, do show up every day. I get impatient with those who say students are “falling behind” and “not learning.” They are learning a lot about patience, setting goals, how to be alone, etc. I love this post because you understand your kids and appreciate them.


  8. “Glitchy” might become my new favorite word. What an amazing shout-out slice for kids and their capacity to keep going. First graders – tech troubleshooting, problem-solving, recovering. We often underestimate children on multiple levels and they keep showing us over and over again that they are the heroes who sometimes wear capes!


  9. I’m so appreciative of finding the celebrations because YES! Kids have learned A LOT! I look at the vision of a graduate indicators, and I’m like yep, resilient, innovative, curious, problem-solving, creative, collaborative… it goes on. And glitchiness is just one more thing to name and deal with.

    You’ll appreciate the fact that I got to meet a few distance learners this week as they came in for LAS Links testing, and it was fascinating to watch their competency and comfort with navigating an screen and interacting with a computer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have so many wonders about this. Mostly, How did they do navigating humans?!? I sometimes worry about that most with the first graders I work with ( I was going to write my first graders but I’ve been reading your book and have flagged the early page with language tips).


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