Teachers are taking to TikTok to sound the alarm on classroom difficulties and delays they are observing with their students.
One high school teacher says that in the downtime before Thanksgiving break, she set out to have her students make thank you cards in Spanish to share with other teachers—when one student had a strange question.
“I had big pieces of card stock that I cut in half to give the kids,” educator and TikTok content creator Dee (@mamma_dee) says in a video. “I gave them no guidelines for the card other than here’s some words in Spanish on the board—words and phrases that might be helpful to you. I showed my example, here’s my card. I was a little extra with mine, you make yours how you like. You make it for whoever you want, as long as it’s in Spanish.”
In the video that has drawn over 342,000 views on the platform as of Wednesday morning, @mamma_dee says her student described the card she had made as “book paper” because of the way it folded and wanted to have something similar.
“One of my little boys raised his hand and said, ‘Ms. Parker, where did you get book paper?'” she says. “I said excuse me? He said, ‘book paper. Like yours, yours is like a book, yours opens and closes, mine is just flat. I want book paper.’ 10th grader. So we just stared at each other, and when I realized those lights weren’t going to turn on.”
Dee then explained to the student how she folded her paper to achieve the “book paper” in question.
“I said, ‘Baby, I took my flat paper and I folded it hamburger style,'” she shares in the video. “Now don’t get me wrong, the look on his face when I said that was kind of like embarrassed, like he realized he should have thought before he asked me that question.”
She says she thinks this is due to a lack of opportunities for students to learn to be creative as early on as kindergarten.
“Every time I post one of my teaching videos I get at least one question that says ‘what do I think the problem is,'” she says. “As I’m prepping my three-year-old for kindergarten in a couple of years, I think the issue is that kindergarten is no longer kindergarten. We’re so worried about these babies being able to be on a first-grade and-a-half level before they enter kindergarten. That’s the issue.”
She goes on to say that in addition to her student’s question about how to fold the card stock, her other students had questions about how many sentences they needed to include, or whether they would have points taken off for not coloring the card.
“We don’t allow them to be creative beings, because no way you just asked me how to make a card,” she says.
@mamma_dee Baffled just isnt a stong enough word. #fyp #teachersoftiktok #educator #highschoolteacher ♬ original sound – Dee
The Daily Dot has reached out to Dee via a comment on the video. The comments section on the clip has been disabled.
In response to some concerns from viewers, she clarifies in a follow-up video that she never shares stories about students with learning disabilities, does not make fun of her students, and does not invite viewers to do so. Dee adds that she shares her stories of working with students with the goal of finding solutions among parents and other educators who watch them.
“My purpose of sharing my classroom experiences is the fact that I fully recognize that most of the people interacting with those videos are other teachers from all grade levels, from all content areas, and parents,” she says. “Those are the people who are mostly watching and interacting with those videos.”