School TV

Ever since Count Blessings came into the world last month, he’s been really anxious for school to start at the end of this month so he could make his debut. He wanted so much to personally meet the kids in the after-school program at the University of Guanajuato Extension, here in San Miguel de Allende, where I’ve been a volunteer English teacher one afternoon a week.

He knew the kids would love him, and he would love them back. He was counting the days and looking forward to counting blessings with his new friends. (See my posts of July 3 and 24 for his backstory.)

My newest puppet, Count Blessings

Well, I had to break the news to him this week that this wasn’t going to happen. There’ll be no in-person classes in Mexico this coming fall school semester. This state’s University of Guanajuato, I learned, is going for online courses. And the federal school system will be using educational television and radio programs for school instruction.

Count Blessings was crestfallen when he heard this news. He almost couldn’t believe his oversize ears. To convince him, I had to read aloud portions of a translation of the Mexican government’s announcement:

“On August 24 the 2020-2021 school year will begin … remotely, because the conditions do not exist to do it in person. President Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador signed an agreement with national television stations to produce classes … that will serve 30 million students. …

“In six television channels a wide national coverage will be achieved. … Those who do not have access to the television signal will have a radio scheme, free textbooks, workbooks, and special attention.”

I continued reading: “More than 4,550 television and 640 radio programs will be produced and broadcast in 20 indigenous languages. All broadcasts will feature Mexican sign language, and the free textbooks will be printed in Braille and macro. … They are not entertainment broadcasts…”

Well, that, I guess, excludes my new puppet, Count Blessings. He won’t be entertaining the children any time soon.

Countries around the world, writes Melissa Godin in Time (July 20), are wrestling over how to reopen schools, after the coronavirus pandemic led to a closure of 60 percent of schools across 186 countries and territories, and forced 1.5 billion students to stay home.

Most of the countries that reopened in-person schooling earlier this year report relatively low numbers of cases of COVID-19 and conduct widespread contact tracing. One worst-case scenario, however, was Israel. After Israel reopened its school doors in May to full classes, more than two thousand people tested positive throughout the country’s education system, and at least one teacher died (

In the United States most schools have yet to reopen; and a growing number of them, especially in many of the nation’s larger cities, are choosing to teach online. New York City, the largest school district in the country, however, is planning a hybrid approach to reopening next month, with a mix of in-person classes and remote learning. New York State’s more than 700 school districts will reopen for in-person learning this fall.

But, according to The New York Times (August 7), “in some places, including Indiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Georgia, students began streaming back into classrooms as early as last week, with quarantines quickly following.”

I’m telling Count Blessings that it’s best to stay home. The coronavirus is still out there, lurking. We don’t have a TV, so he’s been hanging out with me in the kitchen as I work on my new, fun project, a book of stories, recipes, and photos I’m calling “Sweet Tarts.” He likes to supervise my work, so I prop him up in a basket on the counter, where he also entertains me. Now we’re both happy.

My project supervisor with a freshly made apricot-ginger tart

22 thoughts on “School TV”

  1. Bonnie – I see Count Blessing is counting the apricots in your tart! So interesting that Mexico will use TV and radio in place of in-class school. What a great idea – especially for the youngest students who just cannot sit in front of a computer for hours. I caught the reference to Braille books and have passed it on. I love the title of your new book…it is lovely. Count on the first copy sold as soon as it is ready! I wish I could sample that tart – it looks delicious!

    1. Thanks so much, Pamela! I knew you would appreciate the Braille reference. (I left it in just for you.) I’m hoping (and praying) that my new little book will be out on Kindle by the end of this month. Stay tuned! Hope you’re doing well in your new home.

  2. As I’ve said, I think using TV is brilliant. Not only because many do not have internet and/or computers, but TV is “normal” to kids, so learning from that medium should, in theory, be very effective. I hope so.

    1. Thanks for your input, Sy. Yes, all countries can do, I think, is hope that the approach they take is effective in educating their children — and keeping them safe.

  3. I always talk to my pets when I’m doing something but I’m pretty sure The Count is better behaved in the kitchen around food than my pets. Must be a big disappointment for you both that you won’t be in the schools for some time for Count Blessing’s debut. Looking forward to your kindle book.

    1. That’s funny, Carol. Yes, I guess I could say Count Blessings IS my pet. And, yes, he’s very well behaved! I’m looking forward to the birth of my Kindle book, too. Pretty soon…

  4. Your apricot tart looks delicious. Sending blessings your way from Denver. I don’t know when I will be back in Mexico. Passport renewal is held up in a backlog owing to the months long shut down. I haven’t yet been able to go to Taos either as with tourist season they have had more infections.

    1. So good to hear from you, Kay. FYI: On my walk into centro today I saw LOTS of tourists (likely from MX City),
      so I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the infection rate rises here too. Stay put and stay safe. Abrazos, BB

  5. Dear Bon,

    What a wonderful puppet with a very timely name. In Massachusetts, plans are being announced that we will have combined in-person and online classes. I’m skeptical about whether this will actually happen, and I think we will begin the year with remote learning.

    Your apricot ginger tart looks so beautiful!


    1. Thank you, dearest Paul. When the book comes out, you’ll be able to bake the same tart because the recipe will be in it. 🙂 I hope your new semester is safe for all — especially YOU, because I love you!

  6. Hi, BB! Count Blessings is adorable and I’d love to see your English teaching alongside him. Don’t know if you’ve heard about Taos situation. . . .Do you see the Taos News on-line?
    We’re up over 100 cases in the county, and still many of the Texans and other visitors continue not to wear masks. Modified in-class instruction is scheduled to begin Sept. 8, but Taos News reporters found lots of conflicted feelings among teachers, including about how to learn the Canvas on-line teaching tool, fear of in-person learning starting, and lack of support and empathy from administrators. If Count Blessings has relatives, it looks like they’d be welcomed in Taos schools!

    1. Hi, Steve — I see bits and pieces of the Taos News (when Rick Romancito posts them on FB), but I haven’t been following the school news. Gee, “lack of support and empathy from administrators”? (Why am I not shocked?) When will you know which way it will go? Are you worried?

  7. Two observations, Bonnie. I wonder what will become of Mexico’s teachers. And in another way, I wonder what will become of Indiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Georgia’s teachers—and students. Can you imagine thinking it’s OK to play Russian roulette with the nation’s children and teachers?

    1. I’m guessing, Be — and this is just a wild guess, I haven’t read or heard it anywhere — Mexico’s teachers will play a valuable role in the TV programming. As for the U.S. states, it’s anybody’s guess; the country is so far from the “United” in its name.

      1. Well, Mexico’s president IS a socialist, so you could be right! It’ll be interesting to watch what happens with the schools in general. The southern states have decided to let their kids be the guinea pigs, I guess.

        Maybe you could get Count Blessings in front of some of those TV cameras!

        1. Ah, but Count Blessings and I would rather be with the kids in person — see their happy faces, hear their laughter, listen to their excited efforts to speak whole sentences in English. We’d rather wait until school reopens, maybe in January. Vamos a ver…

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