An Apology To My Sister
I think I owe my older sister Michaela an apology. For the past two years, she has been doing an online high school program because her dance training with the Boston Ballet requires her to be in Boston at least 30 hours a week and regular high schools could not provide that flexibility. So naturally, being the good little brother that I am and seeing an opening, I have consistently been giving her an endless amount of grief and insults about her educational status — from calling her a high school dropout, calling what she does fake school, and teasing that if I got to have my text books with me when I took a test, I would have perfect grades too. She’s not amused by my comments and behavior and usually cuts me off at the get-go. Up until a few weeks ago (seems like years?), she had perfected the art of ignoring me when I go down that home school teasing road. I would often get a lecture from my mom about how hard Michaela works and that I should keep my comments to myself.
When the corona virus hit and Fenn made the decision like every other school in the country to move to an online format, I suddenly realized that the my little joke about online schooling was soon to be on me. Fenn’s spring vacation gave me a reprieve for a few weeks where I could go outside more, play video games non-stop in the basement, and find new ways to spend my time, but having to do virtual revisit days for high schools gave me a hint of the weird learning environment that was to come. The world where Michaela has been schooling was not something I was looking forward to.
To her credit, Michaela has been gracious in helping me make the transition to the virtual world. She knows which corners of the house get the best wifi, how often to take breaks from the screen to keep your eyesight and sanity, how to unjam the printer, and how to keep in touch with friends remotely when you can’t see them in person. Seeing how big of an adjustment doing online school has been for me in this temporary manner that everyone is experiencing, I have a new appreciation of how committed and passionate she must be to her dance. Not having a regular, in-person community, with immediate access to teachers and friends to goof around with, has shown me how important those things all are.
She has had all of the frustrations I do about the limitations of learning online, but I never heard her complain about it. Experiencing school virtually as she does has enabled me to understand that online schooling was not really her choice either — ballet was — and in order for her dream of being a professional ballet dancer to come true, something in her life had to give. Giving up what she calls a “brick and mortar” school was a clear choice when it came to increasing her training.
Although I can handle the spring transition because everyone is going through this together for a very good reason, I cannot imagine how strange it would be if this continues beyond Fenn and into high school. But if it does, I have a good role model in my sister to help me through it.