Education :: What a Strange Year

Some things you can do to help parents help their kids and to not go crazy yourself!

The 2020-2021 school year has begun for much of the United States and around the world. No matter where you are, I’m sure this school year has at least a few different aspects. As teachers, we’re experiencing things we’ve never had to deal with.

What we need to remember is that these are also unprecedented times for both our parents and students. For many students around the country, they’re learning mostly online for the very first time. For parents, they’re needing to provide different guidance for using technology and also needing to be a part-time teacher as well. The most difficult part of all of this for parents is that things are taught different than how they learned it, which causes frustration and knowledge gaps!

So, what can we do to help our parents?

  • Communicate! As an educator, communication has always been key for our students’ learning. In these upside-down days, communication is more important than ever!
  • Understand that parents are just as frustrated with circumstances as we are.
  • Give a little slack where it can be given.
  • Give solid deadlines. There may be times when we want something done by a certain time, but we feel bad being strict when we know our parents have a lot going on. However, just as our students need solid guidelines, our parents sometimes do as well.
  • When possible, send detailed or step-by-step instructions to parents as they may need refreshers for what they’re having to help their kids learn.
  • When possible, show your gratitude to your parents. You have no idea how far a simple, “I see what you’re doing. Thank you,” can go. 

These are just some of the things you can do to get through this crazy year when it comes to parents! 

But what about you? It’s just as important to take care of yourself. During a regular school year, many of us work far more than just our school-day hours. During this season, I’m sure there are many more hours you’re pouring into reaching and teaching your students. If you continue pouring from yourself, this could lead to a massive burnout. 

So how can you take care of yourself?

  • Remember that we are only human. There are only so many things we can accomplish in a given day, and sometimes we just need to stop and take a break.
  • Set aside time for yourself to have time away from anything school-related. But don’t just set the time aside; actually TAKE that time for yourself. And don’t feel guilty for it!
  • Take the time to think through your top 5 priorities for each quarter. Then map out ways to focus on these priorities.
  • Expect to teach, reteach, reteach, reteach, and reteach. We already have to teach and reteach in the regular classroom setting. It’s hard enough for our students to all stay focused in the classroom. Now our students are at home at least part-time, which has far more distractions than they’ve ever tried to learn through before.
  • Have fun! Our kids are stressed out and so are we! Yes, we have to teach our kids; however, we ALL need to set time aside to just have fun. When we take time to have fun, it will relax the entire atmosphere and learning will occur more easily.

Teachers, we are traveling uncharted territory. We are drowning in waters that are covering our heads and pushing us down. Don’t try to do everything on your own. Work with your grade-level team (if you have one) and allow yourself time to re-evaluate how you are doing in your personal life. Give yourself moments to breathe!

Remember: you are amazing, you are appreciated, and you matter!

Please like, comment, and share!

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