Updated: Apr 6, 2020
Life can change quickly. One month ago you probably had a routine work schedule, your kids were in school, and you were busy juggling parenthood, your career, and personal life. Now you may find yourself at home quarantined with your family to avoid contact with the global enemy, Covid-19. And while life around the world has seemingly slowed down you are still busy.
In an instant you became your child’s only in person educator. You may feel overwhelmed with this new role that you will assume for at least the remaining of a semester. As a parent and educator by experience and heart, I understand your concerns. I want you to know that you are capable. I want you to know that your child is more resilient than you think. I want you to know that this too shall pass.
The power to teach and inspire is inside of you. You may not have decades of experience but the following will help unleash the educator in you!
Rule Number 1
There are no rules. Your child’s teachers may have given you a list of expectations but those teachers are not you and you are not them. The goal is for your kids to understand the material and stay on track. You know your child and how to appeal to him or her. Teach and engage in a way that works for his or her needs. The goal is not memorization, or even teaching coursework perfectly. The goal is achieving a fundamental understanding of all assignments.
Do Not Compare
As usual, social media and our real life circles has us convinced that the grass truly is greener on the other side. You may see other students and parents who have adjusted to remote learning effortlessly. You may know amazing parents who have always home schooled their children issue free. Your child may have classmates that finish an online assignment in 20 minutes, yet they need a whole hour to complete it. Pandemic or not, education is not cookie cutter. No two students will learn exactly the same. Educational experiences are unique. You and your child’s pace and results with remote learning will vary and that’s okay.
Create an Independent Learner and Doer
Use this chaotic time to foster independence. Being a self starter and independent thinker are skills that will help your child succeed in middle, high school, college, and in their professional careers as adults. Encourage your child to solve problems that they are having with any assignments on his or her own. Get them accustomed to online search engines, online encyclopedias, surveying others, and critical thinking without your shadowing and input. You will be surprised at how quickly they learn to manage themselves.
Schools do not just provide opportunities to learn they provide opportunities for emotional growth and protection. Your unwavering love for your child makes you the best person to do this, when you commit to asking tough questions and having judgement free dialogues. Practicing social distancing and having schedules and lives uprooted does not just affect you. Your child has to process his or her emotions and adapt to change too. Ask your child:
Are you fearful?
Do you feel safe at home?
Has anyone in or outside of the family ever made you feel unsafe or uncomfortable?
What thoughts trouble you constantly?
What disappoints you the most?
How can I help?
Let your child know that you are their parent first and their teacher second and that you love them and will always advocate for their needs. Let them know that you are their safe place and they can always communicate with you.
Every educator and every parent will agree that there is not any proven, single formula to teaching and supporting a child. There is trial and error. You will make mistakes. Your child will have good and bad days. The dynamic between child and teacher is ever evolving and what may have worked one month may fail the next. Being a parent teacher will require dedication. You must be patient and do your best every single day. In an inconsistent world your daily consistency and support means everything to your child. Engage, teach, support, and be their peace. Resist fear, don’t judge yourself so harshly, communicate well, and be open. After all, during this process your child may be the one teaching you!
If you want to learn more about teaching strategies that work in and out of the classroom purchase my book, Deliberate Excellence, for 25% off this week only at: https://www.drdallasdance.com/product-page/deliberate-excellence