Lately I’ve been seeing a frenzy of posts on social media along the lines of “I have a new appreciation for school teachers!” or “Is it ok for homeschool teachers to drink on the job?”. One thing we can agree on is that working parents who are suddenly homeschool teachers for the first time are experiencing the type of challenges we aren’t fully prepared for.
Our world has been altered by COVID19. Just a few weeks ago we had a perfect system. The office. The cup of tea. The kids at school. The routine. Now is the time to demonstrate how adaptable we can be.
I’m here to tell you that it is possible to do your job with the kids home from school. Here are some tips and tricks to get make the most of the next few weeks:
- Allow yourself an adjustment period. Remember that this is a new routine for you, your boss, your kids, and their regular school teachers. Try be patient with yourselves as you collectively embrace the new normal
- Constant communication is vital to keep the kids informed of your expectations of them, and your do-not-disturb work hours. Don’t forget that you’re still their parents despite your new teacher role, and you still need to feed them and attend to their emotional needs. At the end of the working day it’s a good idea for you to put your phone down, shut the laptop and reconnect as a family
- Kids usually thrive on routines. In conjunction with their regular school teachers, create a schedule for them so they know what’s coming up that day. Allow flexibility in that schedule to cater for the unexpected
- Prioritise your work. It has never been more crucial to attend to your most critical tasks. Understand that you’ll be more distracted at certain times of day so the more important tasks should be done when you’re distraction-free. Sometimes that distraction-free time might be at night so it’s essential to manage the expectations of your boss and your clients
- Allow time not only for guiding the kids through their learning tasks, but also for unanticipated shifts in priorities. Sometimes deadlines get brought forward, and that tends to happen at the same time as the dog gets sick, or the entire container of rice falls on the floor. Not to mention the wifi playing up and you have run out of tissues… These are the times to breathe, hug your child, get some fresh air and do the best you can. Some days will be hard, but some days will feel easier
- Give your child the tools they require to occupy their time while they wait for you to get off the phone. Leave a box of activities and healthy snacks in easy reach for them
- Take good care of yourself by getting enough exercise, eating healthy, meditating, staying hydrated, and getting enough sleep
- Remember the reasons you are doing this. You are lucky to have a family and you’re lucky to have a job. The good far outweighs the bad, the rewards are worth it! Hang in there!