I don’t want to teach through plexiglass

I got an email from my school district yesterday marked -ACTION required- in the subject line. It was a survey for staff asking about our confidence and concerns about in-person, distance, or a hybrid of the two. We had been given a similar survey at the beginning of the summer, but now, as they finalize what the start of the school year will look like, they need our opinions again.

As I opened this survey, my husband who works from home pandemic or not, came out and sat in the living room with me. One of the short answer questions was taking me awhile to respond, so since he was just sitting there, I enlisted his help.

“What are some of my concerns or ideas with going back to school to teach in-person? I already wrote the comfort of wearing a mask all day.”

“Yeah definitely wearing a mask for 7 hours, and the ability to teach well while wearing one.”

I typed that out and paused. There was something else really gnawing at me. Something else about going back to school to teach in-person with so many new safety protocols in place that was bothering me even more, but I just couldn’t put it into words.

“I think I am more worried about the mental health or emotional toll if I have to constantly remind students to stay away from one another or not touch something until I wipe it down.”

My husband countered with, “I don’t think that’s about mental health, that would be more of students tuning you out after hearing your reminders one too many times. Most students will probably come to school having better health and safety awareness. Plus, it’s less about wiping everything down and more about making sure they know not to touch their face, so hand sanitizer is more important.” He then went on a tangent about how our use of too much sanitizer could also be making things worse/this virus stronger, something I have considered too, but we’ll save that conversation for another time.

I agreed with his perspective, but that wasn’t quite what I meant.

Then I remembered yet another Facebook post I saw (I really need to start limiting my screen time). Here it is:

That’s supposed to be a bewildered sun to conceal the teacher in the photo, but it looks more like an octopus, either way, ignore it, that is not supposed to be the focus.
Photo from Pike County Glass, Inc. in Pittsfield, Illinois

I described the photo to my husband still needing some help putting my concerns into the right words, “I don’t want to teach behind plexiglass.”

My husband, ever the pragmatist argued, “But that’s how everything is now. Look at all of the stores. That’s just how it is.” While I sat there trying to digest this notion, he then lightened my mood by recalling a memory of a buffet restaurant his dad loved going to when he was younger. He described how this restaurant had a single person standing cubicle area that you would stand in and the food would come by on a conveyor belt instead of people walking around to get their food. “Maybe teaching can be like that now.” He was trying to be funny, but I found it a bit horrifying.

I had a very emotional reaction when I saw this photo for the first time. Nope, this is not what a classroom should look like.

I am unsure as to why exactly it breaks my heart to think of our classrooms turning into desk cubicles or tables separated by plexiglass. If this is the new teaching normal, I don’t want any part of it. That is my gut feeling.

That is my huge concern if returning to school in-person. Just thinking about all of this while writing this post is making me heartbroken. I don’t want my own children to grow up learning behind plexiglass. I don’t want to get to know my students behind plexiglass. The idea of having to teach this way didn’t seem to bother my husband at all, so why I am I having such a strong reaction to plexiglass if it seems to be our new normal?

I settled on writing something like ‘unsure of how new safety protocols will affect learning and relationships’ on my survey, and before I began to overthink it, hit submit.

But of course I did begin to overthink and question why I had such a strong, negative reaction when I saw that photo. Why can’t I accept having plexiglass barriers in the classroom as the new norm? Why does it bother me so intensely?

Because teaching is so much more than just putting information into the brains of young people. It is about relationships, and I am really struggling with how to build trust with all of these recommended safety precautions. I am afraid that there will be so much stress and fear and caution that there will be a guard up causing those relationships to not be as strong as they could be.

I see that photo and I have a difficult time seeing past it, envisioning a plexiglass classroom environment where there are no more high fives, or side hugs, or kneeling beside a student, or even sitting next to a student. Our proactive circles will need to be measured out with each student sitting at least 3 feet apart, and a student embracing you in a hug because they are having a really difficult day may become a thing of the past.

These moments may seem insignificant to outsiders. These safety measures may not seem that big of a deal to those who haven’t spent years in a classroom, and so what if these little moments are no longer?

But to this teacher, and probably to many, these are the moments. Important moments. Relationship building moments. These little moments make our profession special and worthwhile and are the crux of creating a true learning environment.

I don’t have any answers. I don’t know what the right thing to do is, but everything in me screams that it shouldn’t be a classroom full of plexiglass.

What if I don’t want things to go back to normal?

I saw a Facebook post this morning that said:

It’s a cute play on words. And I get it, people long for things to go back to “normal.” But in my opinion, normal has definitely shifted, maybe even changed completely, and I don’t think it is a bad thing.

From the perspective of an educator, things cannot and should not go back to “normal.” This pandemic must force schools to think about how they educate students.

During our six weeks of distance learning, I witnessed some students thriving, and of course, others who simply could not function with so much change and scary uncertainty. When given a quick Google form survey at the end of the school year, some even said they would prefer to continue with online learning in the fall while some of them desperately wanted to be with their friends.

If we go back to “normal” school in my district, the option to learn online is not part of that definition.

But why not?

What would happen to education if there really were less students in a classroom because we alternate days or shifts of students in the building? Or support and help facilitate those students in our district who prefer to learn at home?

I witnessed some incredible growth among some students those few weeks during our emergency remote learning. I was impressed and inspired by the work and engagement by some of my students, some of whom I recall feeling as if I had to pull teeth and/or be a ginormous nag in person. Some students thrive in a learning environment that is not like our traditional classrooms, and why is that often considered bad or not good enough?

Might an “abnormal”–or should I say inventive–school schedule actually allow for more learning as well as give more time and attention to address trauma with our students? Maybe “normal” in schools means no more rushing to push every single standard into students’ heads with the need of doing well on standardized tests. Instead, without the weeks spent on testing, we would have more time to explore these standards deeply, looking for ways to creatively engage students in critical thinking.

Kids absolutely need social interaction, but who says it needs to look like what schools were before the pandemic? We get so used to what our comfortable “normal” is that we forget that it is usually in discomfort where we learn the most.

Speaking of discomfort, schools must address the inequities and systemic racism that exists. This is not the time to hope that the virus disappears or a miracle vaccine is created within the next month so we can go back to business as usual. OK, yes, I hope the virus disappears and a vaccine is created because it is freaking scary, but if and when the virus isn’t a huge concern anymore, racism still is, and we cannot go back to “normal.” For the future of our children and our country, we just can’t.

The unrest that is is pulsing through our country right now does not bother me the way it may others. I am rooting for this discomfort. Part me is ready for us to burn it all down and start fresh, metaphorically of course.

At the same time, I am anxious and exhausted thinking about what the fall will look like as a teacher and as a parent. I don’t know what the right thing to do is. My fierce urge to protect my family couples with the strong desire to see revolution. To see a transformation in how we view education, in how we define education.

Change from our normal can be as freaking scary as this virus, but right now it is essential. Regardless of whether we are worried about the spread of a horrific virus or the continuing support a racist education system, change has to happen. Not only to keep us safe and healthy, but to fix what is fundamentally broken in our systems and in our structures.

If I had to choose just 3 words to describe my dad

A little tribute to my dad on Father’s Day.

Reliable. I remember my dad picking me up from school on my 16th birthday and taking me to the Secretary of State so I could get my driver’s license. Shortly after, I took my sister and brother for a spin in his Chevy Blazer, and later that summer he bought me my first car, a 1980-something gold Ford Escort. The purchase of this car began a series of moments that solidified that my dad was someone I could always count on.

Not only did my dad purchase my first few cars, he repeatedly showed up when my cars inevitably broke down. He once even drove me all the way back to Kalamazoo when one of my cars wouldn’t start back up after stopping for gas on my way out of town heading back to Western. He drove a total of four hours to make sure I got to where I needed to be.

Since the days of my vehicle fiascoes, my dad has seen me through a divorce, being a single parent for a spell (in which he came over A LOT to help me out around the house), another wedding, and the birth of 2 more grandsons. Knowing he showed up time and time again with something as trivial as a crappy car proved to me I could count on him to be there for the big stuff. And he has never once let me down.

Dedicated. Whether it’s to his (former) job, his family, the laundry, the lawn, or golf, the man is dedicated. He hasn’t met a stain or stick that he can’t remove. And just ask him about his hole in ones.

My dad provided modes of transportation not only for me, as I mentioned above, but for my sister and brother as well. There was a period of time where he was driving our rusty old mini van that needed a hockey stick to prop open the trunk. He rode this to and from school, even as a principal, without a second thought while the rest of us drove much nicer vehicles.

Growing up, and to this day, we often run into people who know my dad. He likes to refer to this as being a “pillar of the community.” I have even run into people as far as southern Indiana who worked with my dad. His retirement party involved blown up pictures of one of his school photos and jello shots out on one of his favorite places, a golf course. There have been a few times during the course of my own teaching career that I have run into former students while out and about. My oldest once said to me, “You always run into someone you know.” Proudly, I thought, Yep, just like my dad.

He continued to work as a “pillar of the community” longer than he anticipated to ensure my mom would have his public school health insurance while she was going through cancer treatments. He was by her side the entirety of this scary and uncertain time, calling us often to keep us informed. I will never forget where I was when the message was left on my voicemail that my mom was now in remission. They have spent the years since traveling, renovating their home (a long-time dream of my mom’s), and loving on their grandchildren. I aspire to show the same level of dedication, as well as having the same level of fun at my own retirement party some day, as my dad.

Unwavering. My dad was quite athletic in his youth, the all-star athlete type. Unfortunately, this talent or even strong interest for sports did not pass on to his children, at least not his daughters. Try as we might in such sports as figure skating, soccer, and volleyball, we never attained the all-star title, not even close. Nevertheless and without hesitation, he came to our games and events, supported, and cheered us on. Thankfully, my brother acquired some of my dad’s athletic skills and played hockey for several years, my parents traveling and supporting alongside him all the while.

I remember being particularly exhausted one summer after a rough year of teaching and made a comment that maybe I’ll go back to school and become a veterinarian. My dad didn’t even balk at the idea. He simply said something along the lines of, “I am sure some of your credits would transfer.” His support of me, of us, as people and our choices is unwavering. Even if he doesn’t necessarily understand or agree, he stands by us. And that type unflinching support is one of the best forms of a love a child could ask for.

Just me and my dad in all the glory of ’70s decor.


We were driving home from somewhere the other day, and when we turned onto our road we saw a young man out for a run.

“Hey, that’s my running buddy!” Tyler announced to the car.

“Oh yeah? You see him out and about when you’re jogging?”

“Yep, we nod at one another.”

While I don’t know this young man’s name, I do know he is our next door neighbor. He appears to be older than Tyler, beyond high school, but not by much. He is also Black.

It didn’t occur to me at the time. In fact, rarely do I ever have to stop and consider my son’s race or his appearance when his 15 year old self ventures out into the world solo, like, say, for a jog.

It wasn’t until the news about Ahmaud Arbery exploded that it dawned on my how this simple thing, me having no qualms about my oldest son heading out of the house on his own, is in fact an example of privilege.

My teenage son goes out into the world alone without an adult needing to give him any other warnings or reminders other than, “Be safe” or “Love you” or “Be home by 9.” Before the pandemic, he and one of his friends who is also white, would often bike to the nearby Walmart or Meijer, as well as other local stores, and wander around the stores for hours. I never once considered the possibility that he may get in trouble for seeming suspicious or for loitering or for being too loud. And if he and his friend did get into trouble as teenagers do, I have never considered the possibility that he could lose his life if the police were called. Or if someone carrying a concealed weapon decided to take matters into their own hands. Never.

My worry about the possibility of him not coming home safely has only been caused by horrific thoughts of a careless driver careening into him while he is walking or riding his bike. But never because he might get questioned or stopped or chased after or shot. Never.

I can safely assume our jogging neighbor has had much different reminders or warnings with his family when he about to head out the door. They most likely have more or even completely different worries than careless drivers. He probably makes sure to take his ID with him on his daily jogs. My family leaves the house to go on walks without phones or IDs all the time. Without a second thought.

Maybe it doesn’t sound like much, but those are two very different worlds my Black neighbors and my white family live in. White people, we must acknowledge that this difference, this privilege exists. That is the first step to this vital antiracist work that the world is begging of us right now.

We cannot ignore it.

I went into school today

We were prepped ahead of time of our expectations via email as well as during our department Google Meet video chat.

I grabbed the black, non-latex gloves that had been laying on the garage door steps. How long they have been there I could not tell you . But now they are needed, if not necessary. I had been told I would need to wear both gloves and a mask, but they were low on masks. So, I pulled out one of the two masks that had been sitting in one of our junk closets. A mask my husband had used while sanding. Once I figured out exactly how to put it on and tighten it, I set off.

It felt strange to drive a route I hadn’t driven in over 21 school days. A route I had done plenty of times without much thought as if on auto pilot. But today I was nervous. And last night I was nervous. I actually pondered changing my scheduled time to come in to later in the week or maybe not at all, did I really need to go in and get anything? I did. I needed a book we were going to start reading as class weeks earlier. A novel we are now going attempt to read together now, but virtually. I also wanted to grab my candy, my Clorox wipes, and my hand sanitizer.

So I went. I had to go in through the office because our key cards were deactivated. My hands were covered in gloves and my mask was on. I was greeted by our administration and our head secretary who all put on masks as I entered. I had to sign a waiver acknowledging that I didn’t have a fever, or a cough, or diarrhea, been around anyone who is tested positive for COVID-19, and haven’t traveled out of the state or country within the last 14 days. Only then was I allowed to walk to my classroom to gather a few things.

The halls were empty and the motion sensor lights flipped on as I walked. The mask became unbearably hot and uncomfortable. I instantly felt a flood of gratitude for those who are essential and must wear these masks all day long for days on end. I couldn’t handle walking the distance from the front office to my classroom and had to take mine off when I was only halfway there. No one else in the building was walking around for the 45 minutes I was given to gather my materials, so I it seemed safe to do so.

I have not felt the need to wear gloves or a mask the few times I have left the house to get take out or to pick up an order at Target, so this discomfort was new to me. And to have to wear it to a place that used to be buzzing adolescent energy every day felt so surreal. So humbling. It also made me realize how freakin’ fortunate I am.

I am fortunate enough to have Shipt deliver my groceries so I don’t have to set foot into a big, crowded grocery store. I am fortunate enough to be able to tip well. I am fortunate enough to continue to support my favorite local pizza places each week. Again, I am fortunate enough to tip well. I am fortunate enough to be able to work in comfort at home. I am fortunate enough to be able to stay home, safe, and healthy.

I can’t imagine the anxiety those who have to worry about masks, gloves, and encountering possibly infected people each and every day. A thousand thank yous wouldn’t be enough.

The stress I felt while walking into an almost empty building masked and gloved up pales in comparison to those who have to do that daily on top of worrying about being coughed on and sneezed on and bringing the possibility of this virus into their homes all because of where they work.

Because I can think of no other way to thank those who put themselves at risk every day so people like me can stay safe and healthy, I will simply keep myself and my family at home.

The little things

So much uncertainty and stress

So many differing opinions, best practices to stay safe,

to stay healthy.

It can be too much.

Way too much.

Focusing on the little things helps.

Helps to bring some joy, some peace–

The smell of warm spring air.

The smell of a storm approaching.

The storm itself.

My kids looking outside hoping to witness a thunderbolt (no such luck this time).

The birds chirping wildly at 5:30am.

Leaving the bedroom window open all night.

A 5 year old break dancing on the kitchen floor.

Jogging a bit longer on the treadmill than the day before.

Even the constant bickering of siblings.

These are the things that are normal.

These are the things bringing a sense that everything will be OK.

From the mouths of babes

19 school days later and things are starting to unravel around here.

When school was first cancelled on March 13, my kids were excited. I am quite certain most kids were thrilled to receive the school is closed text. Without any snow days this winter, we were annoyed school had not been called off. So even amidst the frightening uncertainty surrounding us, the announcement of several days off were welcomed with shouts of joy,

We tried out some academic-y stuff for the first two weeks. And they actually seemed to enjoy themselves sitting around our kitchen table writing and drawing and looking at all of the world’s countries on a globe. OK, my teenager was not having any of this school time fun really, but he would join us each time we played a board game. And we have been playing A LOT of board games.

We went for morning walks, played outside, made up games, listened to music, made meals together, played academic games on the computer, and even started to read a chapter book aloud together. And to top it all off, all three of my boys were getting along. Naturally, there was some brotherly arguments, but no full-out brawls…yet.

Without me really noticing, all of this “fun” began fizzling away. Before each of our few activities, complaints became louder and louder, not so much in words but in attitude and enthusiasm. I became exhausted. So did they. Even though we really weren’t physically doing much, sure we’ve been staying active, but it isn’t like we are training for a marathon. Why were we now, just a few weeks later, so exhausted?

I read about how this situation we are all in could affect kids. I decided laying off on the school stuff would be a good a idea so we just did a few things here and there. I focused more on them getting outside and doing something creative than completing any sort of specific activity. But I truly didn’t think I would see any affects of this pandemic on my kids. Especially not my youngest. How in the world does he even know what is going on? He doesn’t. He can’t. They are safe and sound and enjoying their time at home. They’ll be fine.

I promised myself to be aware how this pandemic could affect them, and I told myself I would show some grace to them and to myself. But surely there would be no serious issues with their behavior and mental well being. Especially not my youngest.

I was wrong.

This week every little thing has set him off into end of the world (maybe a poor choice of words?) meltdowns. Crying and complaining and even physical retaliation when he doesn’t like the answer to something, aka the word ‘no’.

Because it is “Spring Break” I opted for no academic talk this week, i.e you must read for 30 minutes before playing a video games. Bed times were extended by a half hour, and we are just chilling with no plans or fun ideas to try out. Just relaxing. So, when the tantrums got worse I was surprised. The kid can do almost anything he wants this week, what is he so upset about?

Today was even more amplified. He cried for five minutes straight because I cut up his pancakes instead of “leaving them big” at breakfast. My parents came over to drop off Easter gifts on our porch. I kept it a surprise, so when they pulled in, he ran to the garage to greet them at the door. I had to stop him. This did not sit well with him because then he threw another fit about not getting the present he wanted from the Easter Bunny. The crying and screaming carried on throughout the day each one a bit worse than the one before.

So, I decided we would go back to an earlier bed time. As I was tucking him in, he asked a strange question, “When does big table get finished?” At first I thought he misspoke and meant the office, one of the bedrooms we are turning into well, an office.

“What table?” I asked just to make sure my thinking was on the right track.

Exasperated he answered, “The table in the kitchen because we can’t go to school.”

Ohhhhh… light bulb. I had moved the kitchen table out from against the wall a few weeks ago when school was cancelled to give us more space to work. But before I could answer he said, “This is taking 200 days! We can’t go to any other houses?”

I struggled to answer without crying, but managed a, “No, we can’t. We are trying to stay healthy and keep others healthy too.”

My beautiful, brilliant five year old then said something that left me dumbstruck.

“This hurts my feelings. Not being able to go anywhere. It hurts my feelings.”

I didn’t think he understood, had any sort of inkling of what was going on around him. This kid usually loves to just stay home and play and chill out. I honestly thought he would be the one I would not have to worry about. I was absolutely mistaken.

This whole thing hurts my feelings too, little man. I can’t think of a better way to put it.

Something to look forward to

As we were getting ready for bed last night, my youngest declared to my husband and me, “I am so excited for tomorrow!”

“You are? Why?” we answered in unison, shocked a bit since our days have been pretty mundane lately.

“Because I get to make my lunch for everyone.”

I had forgotten for a minute. I had forgotten how the simplest things can generate so much excitement in kids. I had forgotten what it felt like to look forward to something. Usually this time of year, as the weather gets warmer and the birds are chirping loudly equally excited for warmth of the sun, the weekends quickly fill up with gatherings and family and spring break and sporting events.

But all of that has come to a screeching halt.

With schools closed now and weekdays merging with weekends, the eager flutters floating around in my belly as weekend events get closer have been replaced with more of a dull, persistent every day worry. What if we get this virus? Are we healthy enough to be able to avoid the hospital? Will there even be enough ventilators if we need one? Should I go get Tylenol instead of Ibuprofen? (I did do that actually.) Are schools going to be shut down indefinitely? What will that mean exactly? Will we be able to have a normal summer?

There’s just so much more to be anxious about than there is to be excited about right now. It is easy to get sucked into the gloom and doom and despair of all of this.

On Friday, I told each of my boys and my husband that they were in charge of one meal next week. They had to plan it out and prepare it with me as their sous-chef. My youngest chose macaroni and cheese, carrots, with Oreos as dessert. He kept asking when he was going to be able to make his meal all weekend, probably just so he could eat the Oreos, but still.

On Sunday evening, when my son announced to us how much he was looking forward to the next day, his excitement bubbling over, it was a reminder. He has the right idea. We must find something to look forward to. Something to get excited about, something to bring us joy. Now more than ever, we need to be like Dominic, seeking out something as simple as making a macaroni and cheese meal to look forward to. Otherwise, we we may get too focused on just how uncertain our future is right now.

After sharing in the delight of kid-chosen and prepared meals today as a family, mac n cheese for lunch and cheeseburgers for dinner, my oldest voiced his anticipation for his upcoming meal this week, shrimp Alfredo. So, this week, we are looking forward to our meals, next week we will find something else . . . like maybe a variety of desserts.

Meeting halfway

I started this post exactly 2 months ago. The world has shifted dramatically in those 2 months.

Today is, to me, officially Day Two of our quarantine slash “homeschooling” slash social distancing slash keep yo’ behind away from others. Although Friday was cancelled for our school district, I am not counting it as an official day for me because it was too sudden and strange and because I was not feeling physically, mentally, or spiritually myself at all. Friday I stayed in pajamas and closed out the world by watching mindless television for the majority of the day. Saturday and Sunday I slowly climbed out of my funk, but it was the weekend and weekends don’t count in my countdown.

But let me rewind a bit. The title of this post is “Meeting halfway” for a reason. I was inspired by my oldest son and his best friend. They don’t live too far from one another, within walking and biking distance, same school district, etc. And when they plan to hang out together, they always meet halfway, which, from what I have gathered from our conversations, their meeting place is near a little sidewalk with a bridge that leads to a local walking trail. They do this even when one of them goes home from the other’s house, they walk or ride bikes halfway so no one has to be alone the entire time.

These boys are 14 going on 15.

When I witness something like this, just a small consideration for one another, it makes me feel hopeful. So, when the older generations, myself included, shake their heads at the lack of empathy or respect in kids these days, I will use this little act as evidence that hope is not lost.

It is not just the angsty youth who lacks compassion nor the ironically bearded millennial who is completely unaware of other people’s feelings. Each and every generation has their a**holes. Just look at what is going on in the world right this very minute.

And just so we are clear, I am not trying to boast about how awesome I am as a parent because if you’ve read any of my posts it is quite obvious I would never win a parent of the year award. I just choose to see something as small as best friends meeting one another halfway as a sign that what the late, great Whitney Houston once said is absolutely the truth. I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way.

Chances are they will do the right thing and meet us halfway.

No one was prepared for what is happening around us right now. Maybe as adults we should take a cue from these two teenagers and try to meet one another halfway too by leaving some of the toilet paper and macaroni and cheese on the shelves.


A few weeks ago my middle son and I were driving somewhere. I don’t remember where, but for some reason it was just the two of us. There wasn’t anything unusual about this day that I can recall. We were probably just running a boring errand. Then he made this comment:

“It’s weird how I only have my perspective. Like, we each only have our own perspectives and can’t see other people’s.”

I was speechless. This is a fairly heavy musing. And it was coming from a kid who has to be reminded to put socks on before school almost daily.

After my initial shock subsided. I made a parent type comment affirming his comment and taking it a step further by explaining how this is a reason people sometimes disagree and don’t get along. As we continued on our drive he didn’t bring this back up again, and I didn’t ask where this thought came from (though now I wish I had).

I was reminded about this same notion of perspective in a more embarrassing way this week back at work. After using the restroom in one of the stalls, I came out and happily proclaimed, “It actually flushed!” The other female in the bathroom at the time was one I did not recognize. She just looked at me, smiled, and quickly left. It did not dawn on me how strange I may have appeared to this stranger until hours later.

She probably thought I was giving entirely too much information that was borderline disgusting. But she was missing my perspective of how the toilets in the staff restroom NEVER flush all the way down. It is a very old building with horrendous plumbing (which is probably why last school year they switched this particular restroom to the staff restroom instead of a student restroom since less people use it). She didn’t know how big of a deal it is to have the toilet flush completely. I am fairly certain she is an intern for our 8th grade Social Studies teacher and this week was her first week in our building. From her perspective she saw a crazy middle aged lady come out of a stall thrilled about her waste flushing. What was a small, exciting moment in my day was probably a bizarre and most certainly uncomfortable moment in hers.

It’s all about perspective.

I have a feeling this whole perspective thing observed by my son came from playing video games. I don’t necessarily think this is a bad thing either. If playing video games helps to solidify 1st and 3rd person for my 10 year old, awesome. Say what you want about video games, but if playing them gives my boys more of an understanding of perspective than most adults have, I say, let them eat cake play video games.