We all play many different roles in our day to day lives. Things are only getting more complicated as the lines between work and home life are blurred. This could not be more true for teachers who are making lesson plans for their students while also teaching and looking after their children.
We reached out to Sara, a local high school teacher and mother of two young school-aged children, to find out how, and if, she is able to separate those two worlds.
Most days Sara creates lesson plans for her students, while also taking care of her son and daughter’s schooling.
I wouldn’t call this homeschooling Sara shares. “Homeschooling is a choice people make to take on the education of their children on their own; that’s not what has happened here.”
Parents and teachers are working together to keep kids engaged in some meaningful activities, but this is a pieced-together partial solution in an emergency situation she adds.
She stresses that parents should never feel like they’re failing at ‘homeschooling’ their children as we are all doing our best for our kids in an unprecedented time.”
Doing her job while balancing the demands of her children has been a challenge.
Sara says that when recording lessons and answering emails, she tries to get her kids to play upstairs or in the basement. “They know I need their help and cooperation to work, so they do their best to play independently.
However, it doesn’t always work out perfectly. “I do have the occasional superhero or wizard in the background of my video lessons, or a heated sibling debate can be heard while I’m helping with homework questions, but my students understand that I’m a “meacher” a mom/teacher.”
She has high praise for her students who are trying their best in a less than an ideal learning environment. “They are amazing and resilient. They know they need the information I’m teaching for next year so they’re doing their best to learn it while in a very stressful situation.”
Flexibility is important given each student’s circumstance. Sara says ” My students follow deadlines but I have been flexible with them since many are working full time at various grocery stores or babysitting siblings while parents work, so I give extra time whenever possible.”
For her own children’s schooling, Sara finds mornings work best. “That’s when they’re eager to get their work finished so they can play, and they’re more engaged right after breakfast.”
This works well for Sara since most of her high school students are sleeping in. ” I can do work with my kids and then prepare lessons to post for my students all before they wake up and start emailing me with homework questions.”
Concentrating on schoolwork while at home is difficult for a lot of children. Sara’s youngest loses concentration more quickly than her oldest. “When that happens it’s best for us to just leave the online work for a bit and snuggle on the couch and read” Sara shares.
She stresses that the priority right now is our kids’ physical and mental health. “If they can’t/won’t do the work, walk away for a bit.”
Elementary students will catch up quickly when they return to school and everything will work out. Secondary students have a little more responsibility for their learning and are used to independent work, but they should take a break when they need it.
In the end, she advises to try to engage with your kids in whatever way works for your family. Play board games, read lots of books, do puzzles, play video games together, paint, go outside, watch movies.
If possible get them to connect with their class so they see their friends, but at the end of this, our kids will be okay!
feature image courtesy of wallpaper flare