Is Teaching Your New "Normal?"
Updated: Jul 23, 2020
COVID-19 has turned your family's world upside down. Your children are home 24/7; you may be out of work; and everybody is on each others' last nerve during the quarantine. To make matters worse, the governor announced schools won't be opening in the fall, and distance learning or homeschooling are your only options. Now what?
After you hide in the bathroom and scream stressful words into a towel, you manage to take a deep breath, look yourself in the mirror, and say, "What on Earth am I going to do? I am not a teacher."
Your resentfulness turns into the blame game. "My parents never taught me how to deal with a pandemic. How am I supposed to manage this?" Well, unless they were alive during the Spanish Flu in 1918-1920, the chances of your parents knowing how to handle surviving a global pandemic are pretty slim.
You might be thinking, "How can I possibly teach my children to enjoy reading, writing, science, history, and math if I haven't been to school in years? I didn't sign up for this." It's not part of your DNA, right? Perhaps you barely had enough patience to get through high school, college, or a trade school; so earning an emergency teaching credential is definitely not part of the plan—right?
Then you consider all you'd worked hard to accomplish, up until the pandemic caused a temporary lockdown on your life. Your new "normal" is anything but normal. Ironically, you crave the busy routine that may have been a source of frustration in the past; but it was comfortable. While considering the monotony of your former schedule—perhaps carpooling, commuting in traffic, working crazy hours, meeting time deadlines, driving all over town for team sports and club events, teacher-parent conferences, helping your kids with homework, and then exhaustedly falling into bed every night—strangely, you miss feeling overwhelmed.
As a human being, controlling your daily patterns—albeit stressful—was the norm. To circumvent the busyness of your day, you may have set your alarm an hour earlier than usual to strengthen your body, meditate, read, or wait in line at Starbuck's for a shot of caffeine. During that glory hour, while your family was still asleep, your attention may have been directed to electronic devices for the latest emails, texts, news, and social media updates. Life was grand... until everything changed.
The psychological impact has developed into claustrophobia, and you just need space; you need alone time; you need to escape from the new normal, which wasn't on your list of New Year's resolutions. Surprisingly, after four months of being socially isolated with your family, now you miss the daily stresses that used to push you over the edge. You feel anxious and unsure of the future; yet you try your best to be a good example for your family by towing the line, smiling, and feeding your brain with positive news.
Despite the school district's supportiveness, there's a big, thrashing elephant in the room—a global pandemic is causing anxiety among teachers, parents, and students. Time isn't slowing down, and your children still need a well-balanced education. Stress hasn't made the transition easy, but you're willing to do whatever it takes (inhale... exhale...) and consider the real questions that have been swirling inside your head: Am I qualified to teach my children? Will distance learning be effective? And should I consider getting a personal tutor for my children? Yes, yes, and yes.