Looking back on my childhood, when you asked what I wanted to be, teacher was never an answer I would give. And neither would my husband. Yet when COVID hit, we suddenly stepped into that role. Really, we all have. To say that my family and I were unprepared both mentally and emotionally is an understatement. We all had to make changes and for type A personalities like myself, that was hard.
When this pandemic started, my husband moved from the office to working from home, and as an already work-from-home parent who needs privacy for conference calls, I moved to our bedroom. The kids were assigned e-learning and given a schedule. We soon discovered our oldest wasn't turning in all her work and our youngest child just didn’t grasp how to access computer files. We encountered quite a few issues that real teachers know how to handle already, but we did not. (Plus, we realized that with five computers online, we needed to up our Internet connection!)
So my husband and I tag-teamed e-learning in between our own conference calls and workload, trying to play makeshift teacher, parent and employee all wrapped up into one. We tried our best to supplement e-learning - which did not fill much of our kids’ day - with fun educational projects like science experiments, but it was taxing. And now we’re approaching the end of summer. While our district announced a hybrid option as well as a full e-learning program, it sounds like any in-school option will be off the table, and we will once again become reluctant at-home teachers.
This is a difficult process for all involved and while we are parents, we are not natural teachers and certainly don’t always carry the level of patience e-learning requires. So what my family is learning from this process is to let go a bit and make learning fun. For example, we are having our tween read books to alternate from straight computer work. And our second-grader will be using typing games to strengthen her computer skills.
In the end, maybe doing the best we can and having no plan is okay. We will do our best to follow school lesson plans in September but if we are not 100 percent perfect, that’s okay, too. And it’s good for our kids to see us navigating uncharted territories together. Yes, I never wanted to be a teacher and still don’t, but I certainly want to teach my kids that challenging times can make us stronger in the end.