That’s right, I am not a teacher. The amount of patience required for that doesn’t run through my veins. Wrangling the attention of a couple of hyperactive boys in a non-school setting isn’t part of my skill set. Homeschool has never been more than a fleeting thought because it takes a special kind of talent to be a teacher. Bless their hearts.
It’s one of the reasons I keep forking over the big bucks I truly don’t have for that private school tuition. But guess what? I’m still forkin’. Only now I have the distinct pleasure of teaching my own children flippin’ geometry and how to complete informational writing assignments. For six hours a day. For six hours a day. Six.
Ok, on a good day we can get it done in four. But that only happens twice a month.
I’m not mad at the teachers. They were thrown into this just as much as we were. Still, they are able to crank out those lessons before I can even trudge into the kitchen to make my morning coffee. I’m sure they’re thinking that if they can school twenty kids or so in less than half a day, it should only take a couple of hours to get two or three kids to finish the work, right? Wrong.
Maybe for some of you parents this is all a piece of cake. Perhaps that is because you bred focused little angels for children. Good for you. Your quarantine days thus far have been filled with sun-shining walks and family game nights.
You probably have a super clean house, too.
For the rest of us, this sucks.
Part of my time-consuming problem is that I literally have to sit next to my kindergartner and second grader to make sure they are actually paying attention to the lessons they are supposed to be watching. Oh, I’ve tried walking away–only to come back to find them watching YouTube videos of ‘Lil Nas X. Of course I have to log them into different sites, upload pictures for them, and don’t get me started on creating text boxes that fit in Seesaw. Anyway, there’s quite a bit of hand-holding and running back and forth between the two boys.
When it comes to my seventh grader though–girl, you’re on your own! Thankfully, she’s fairly independent now but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t contribute plenty of interruptions throughout the day–in which case, I’ll likely respond with, “email your math teacher, your band teacher, your math teacher, your band teacher…” I have no knowledge of music, let alone the trumpet, and any math problem will cause my eyes to glaze over. In fact, both subjects actually make my stomach churn.
Speaking of stomachs, what is up with my kids needing to eat something every ten minutes? I’ve got enough problems gaining the quarantine fifteen on my own but my three little piggies are eating up all of our food (not that that helps me, I’ll swallow air and gain a quick pound) but they are eating up all of our time as well, with their frequent munchie breaks.
Add in platforms crashing, logins and passwords for this website and that website, multiple Zoom meetings, along with typing, drawing, recording, and uploading numerous assignments for each kid and it’s enough to make your head spin.
Let’s talk about those Zoom meetings, though. You just took 45 minutes of my morning away asking what each of the twenty-five kids did over the weekend. Those precious daylight minutes to get all of the “must dos” done are now gone. Besides, I’m not so crazy about having every one of my kid’s classmates and their parents all up in my house everyday either, being the introverted mom that I am. I have to angle that laptop just right and sneak up the stairs just so, in order to avoid being caught on camera in my Crocs and jammies.
In the beginning, there were tears. Mostly my own, but sometimes my kids’. Now, I am fighting the urge to say screw it on the daily. I have yet to give up though, because as each torturous day ends, we are one more day closer to summer and that particular thought gives me strength.
So do the frequent happy hours I have over the phone with my bestie. After the schoolwork is done, of course.
I’ll admit, we’ve made some progress as of late. Each kid has binders with packets of assignments organized in their do it now, do it later, and done folders. Their passwords for Raz-kids, Brain Pop, ABC Mouse, Artsonia, Splash Learn and their individual Zoom meetings are all in sheet protectors in the front of the binders–easy enough for my husband to find should I ever have to work on a “school day.” We laminated their QR codes for quick and easy scanning since we seem to jump from the computers in the office to the laptops in the dining room several times a day. (Making those little QR code cards was probably one of the best things I did to help keep me sane.) Seesaw is also becoming more manageable now that we know what NOT to do in order to avoid the seesaw headache I so frequently had in the beginning.
At the moment, I’m holding it together but just barely. Just barely. If any of you parents out there are bribing your kids with extra Fortnite time or threatening them with military boarding school, then you are a savage after my own heart.
We may be separated by at least six feet from one another but metaphorically speaking, we are walking hand in hand through this distance learning experiment together. Most of us are not teachers but we are busting our asses to educate our littles in the best possible way we can. Are we doing a good enough job? Only time will tell.
I am deeply appreciative of how hard teachers work to educate our children. It is a tough job, no doubt. I only hope the type of rest they are getting now and over the summer break is good and plenty because eventually, we will be sending our kids back to them. And I can’t exactly say if those children will be returning in quite the same condition the teachers had left them in before the world shut down.
Either way, as soon as I shove my kiddos out of the car door on that glorious morning of the first day back to school, I will continue to have a Cheshire Cat-like grin plastered across my face right up until 2:25 p.m.