How many times have you heard that phrase in the past few weeks? From your teenagers, your students, maybe you’ve even uttered those words yourself.
People are saying that they never want to look at a computer again after this year.
I get it. Students and teachers have been staring at screens from 8 am-3:30 pm all day, every day. The students listening to their teachers lecture them about Calculus and teachers trying to get through to a bunch of black squares with names on them–wondering if they are simply talking to themselves.
But don’t students and teachers feel this way about school EVERY year in late May? Aren’t we always a little bit burnt out and “over it” when the days get longer, and summer begins to beckon us towards her relaxed schedules and absence of homework (to be done OR to be graded?)
But let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. It’s not ZOOM we are sick of, it’s the endless hours of being alone, sitting still, staring at a computer and trying to stay focused while someone talks at us.
Zoom (and other similar platforms) saved us this year. It’s what allowed us to stay connected to our friends and family during lockdown. Zoom is what made group online trivia fun and allowed us to continue learning and growing and having cello lessons. It is what led to us being able to watch the recitals of former and out-of-town students via livestream.
And now, with all of the amazing online summer opportunities happening, the kids who are “refusing to look at a screen all summer” (and their parents who are acquiescing) are truly missing out on a golden ticket.
But (and here is my unpopular opinion of the year) I think having “Zoom fatigue” is as contagious as tendonitis at a summer orchestra festival. And similarly, while there are definitely students who find themselves in pain and needing treatment, there are a whole bunch who jump on the bandwagon in the ensuing days because it’s suddenly “cool” to have practiced SO MUCH that you got hurt.
(Important: Tendonitis is terrible and debilitating, which is why one should always take each and every complaint seriously. But anyone who has ever taught or worked at a festival like this knows of the suddenly increasing group of students sitting out of orchestra rehearsals because of arm pain who are miraculously fine when it comes time to read through the Mendelssohn octet at 11 pm.)
Luckily, there are a lot of smart kids out there who are seeing past the “it’s cooler to be zoomed-out ” pressure to the benefits of these online programs, and they have also figured out that being a part of a virtual summer program is not the same as sitting there from 8:00-3:30 listening to lectures.
The reasons students have for attending an online festival are so varied–from the sheer number of teachers and guest artists an online festival can bring in, that logistically just isn’t possible at an in-person program, to needing to get a part-time job to help cover their college expenses – An online format allows them to continue to progress musically, while also working in the evenings and weekends.
There are other online summer festivals that look amazing – The Online Solo Strings Intensive, The Virtual Violin Summer Festival, and the Summer Strings Academy for Girls all have incredible faculty, guest artist lineups, speakers, and forums. It’s like Disney World for these string students, and there are similar festivals being offered for flute, trumpet, percussion, etc.
And while there are plenty of students who are lining up to attend these virtual festivals (mine is almost full!), I’ve had so many conversations with colleagues to tell me how much they wish their students would apply, but don’t want to push it because the student is tired of zoom. I wish more parents and teachers would help these kids to look past their current school situations, and see all of the amazing things in front of them that they are passing up–The friendships, connections, access to world-famous cellists and pedagogues, and the inspiration and accountability that are paramount to having a productive summer.
The next time someone near you complains about being “zoomed out”, instead of immediately agreeing and saying “oh, yeah-me too!” maybe you can challenge them on that thought. Maybe you’ll be the person handing them just the golden ticket they’ve been waiting for.
Cheers, my friends! Keep Thriving! We’re almost through the year 🙂
P.S. Are you a part of Thrive-Fest? Head over to the Tales From The Lane Facebook Group and join us for another 3 weeks of daily 5-minute tasks to help get your ducks in a row and help you to feel that you are thriving in ALL areas of your life!
Great article Kate!
Wow this is so toxic. Injury and mental health should always be taken seriously.