Back-to-school looks nothing like it has in years past. And with so many kids at home learning remotely, parents have an insight into the classroom -- albeit virtually -- that they've never had before.
It was this insight that prompted Dr. Sirry Alang of Allentown, Pennsylvania, to tweet about something she overheard while her second-grade daughter was learning from home.
Teachers, ur class convos are broadcasted in everyone’s homes. The # of times the teacher has said “your mom and dad” to my kid’s class is infuriating. But a BRAVE kid just said...”But I only told my grandma at lunch time because my sister and I live with our grandma.”— Sirry Alang, PhD (she/her) (@ProfAlang) September 8, 2020
Alang said she overheard her daughter's teacher tell students on several occasions to get help from their "mom or dad."
Alang, who is a single mother and gay, said the comment bothered her.
"My daughter was also in a foster home for several years and has a sibling in a group home so there's no parent present at all," she told "Good Morning America. "All these things were going through my head."
She also recalled her own childhood. Alang was raised by a single mother and while she never articulated it before, teachers referring to "dads" and having students make Father's Day cards hurt her.
While Alang was open to "parent or guardian," she now thinks there's something better: Grown-ups can take the place of moms, dads or guardian, she said.
Author and activist Glennon Doyle agreed, posting that "grown up" was the term she used when she was a classroom teacher.
Still, said Alang, it's not perfect. It doesn't account for older siblings taking care of younger ones, for example. But it's a stop in the right direction in terms of inclusive language.
The comments on her tweet have been "overwhelmingly positive," she said. But she did face some criticism from those who think teachers have too much on their plate already.
"Everyone has a lot going on," she said. "But I'm more worried about the kids who feel excluded."