2020: The Year We Never Could Have Prepared For
I know many of us find ourselves having to be more flexible than ever this year, especially when it comes to our work-life balance and our children’s education or childcare. As a teacher and a mom, I never would have expected the year to look like this. Teaching from home with no daycare in the spring brought a lot of challenges and our family had to find ways to quickly adjust and make it work, as did many of you I’m sure! Having the summer off was more than convenient this year given the circumstances. Now that we’ve rolled back into the school year, I’ve been teaching from home and I’ve chosen to keep my son home from daycare for health and safety reasons.
How do I do it?
Well, let me start by saying I’ve had to suck up my pride and learn to ask for help, which I’ve never been great with. My husband has had to step in a lot more. My mom comes down when she can to help me out. We do have a spot at daycare, and once we feel comfortable, we do plan on sending our back. Since I’m allowed to work from home for the time being, we have opted to keep our toddler home to try to be one less person in the classroom for the children whose parents cannot stay home with them.
Virtual School is My New Jam.
The classroom has been my work environment for the past 5 years. I’ve started each school year with a new mix of (give or take) 100 kids. This year I was nervous, apprehensive, and unsure of what to do when it came to school. It felt like year 1 all over again, but I’ve quickly realized that I can rise to the challenges virtual school presents. In fact, I love teaching virtually and I can tell you quite a few reasons why.
1. My students are comfortable in their homes.
Although they may not love learning from home, I do notice a huge improvement in their behavior. I generally do not have behavior issues with my students, but with middle schoolers, they can struggle with impulse control issues. (Don’t we all though?) I’m not sure if it’s because their parents are nearby or they just feel more relaxed at home, but I notice I’m having to spend less time going over the housekeeping concerns, which has given way to more time for content, instruction, and practice!
2. Time is Precious
I am able to better manage my time at home because I’m spending less time in my car. My 20-minute drive to daycare and then 20-minute drive to work is no longer an issue in the morning. I am able to wake up early if I want and have some me-time. I can eat lunch with my son every single day. As soon as I’m done teaching, I just go to the other room and don’t lose a minute of time going from work to mom mode. It’s really nice being able to quickly switch roles and not lose a second with my own little boy.
3. New Challenges = New Motivations
Having to deal with a new challenge has given me a new sense of motivation. After 5 years of doing a lot of the same things, it’s nice to have a bit of a drastic change. It’s challenged me to inside myself and the way I normally operate to make determinations on how I can better serve my students and their families. It’s also caused me to stop and think about how I spend my planning time, programs I use in class, ways I can innovate my teaching to be better or more engaging, etc. It’s nice to feel motivated again after feeling like I was in a bit of a rut!