Crystal Robinson


I Am Not Smarter Than A Fifth Grader

"Only thing positive I would say, thank God that the teachers stuck around like they did to try to keep these kids focused, try to keep the kids there, try to do the best that they could to teach our children."



Bruns Avenue Elementary

Bruns Avenue Elementary


I got laid off from my job March the 20th of last year because of COVID. I worked in healthcare during that time. So, I had to switch. I had to switch.

I was doing in-home care, but my kids and that school racked my brains so bad as to where I couldn't even focus to take care of a patient in home because my mind was so cloudy and so boggled. I had to switch to do transportation so I can be out and see the scenery and find something else to clear my head from the mess of the 2020 school year. I went through a whole financial crisis because of that. I had to max out credit cards because I couldn't go to work.

I basically was teaching my son on my own. I mean, the teachers were doing their part, but I ain't been to school in - oh my gosh - 20 plus years. I am not smarter than a fifth grader. I'm trying to teach, I got three kids with packets of work that I’ve got to sit here and try to tell them how to do this, what this means. [My daughter] wanting to know how to do fractions and decimals and all this stuff. I'm like, look, I don't even remember. I just know how to count my money. My head was hurting every single day. Every day. And then you got to sit there to try to keep them focused on a computer - kindergarteners. Try to keep them in control. You know how kindergarteners are. Their minds ain’t that long. It was horrible. Those little children needed to be in school. They needed to be still being taught some kind of way instead of their mind just being focused on this iPad.

With my third grader it wasn't as bad because she was already used to being in school and learning. And she knew she liked it. Remote learning was exciting to her because she was able to still see her teachers. She was able to still do her work.

Now my younger son likes his friends. Josiah likes to see his friends, but he couldn't talk to his friends the way he wanted to. They couldn't converse. So he was missing his friends. He just wanted to sleep. It's like, when you come home, you are at home. So you can relax, you can sleep, you can move and groove, play with your toys. For him it was like, “I can do what I want to do because I'm at home.”

And then I had my other twin (Nehemiah). He’s trying to find whatever is going to keep his mind going, because he gets distracted easy if the learning is not up to his caliber. He'll take his mind away and he'll try to find something interesting. So with the school being online, it was hard for him because he didn't want to do the work because he'd rather be in there with the teacher. So it was hard trying to keep him focused. He took it as the iPad was a way to navigate to the internet versus using the iPad for school. I would think he would be actually in there in class with his brother, but he's in there on the internet doing YouTube or something. Even going back inside the school, he's having problems. He didn't have those problems in kindergarten. In kindergarten, the teacher said he was the best student, he and Josiah were the best students they had. Nehemiah was always on point with his work. He was always tuned in. He answered all the questions, he did everything. This year it’s been kind of crazy you know? She's (the teacher) saying it's taking him a little longer to grasp hold of things. He's not paying attention. He's not following directions. And he wasn't like that before. They (CMS) could have had tutors that were designated for certain children. Even if they did have to go online, there could have been more tutor sessions going to help these kids, especially at least for the kindergarten kids.

Only thing positive I would say, thank God that the teachers stuck around like they did to try to keep these kids focused, try to keep the kids there, try to do the best that they could to teach our children. And I thank God for that. I thank God because, if it was me, I think I would have quit. I would have quit.

- Crystal Robinson

Crystal Robinson at home with her sons Nehemiah and Josiah, and her daughter Nevaeh.

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