Parenting during coronavirus and school closures- week five recap and ode to teachers

Last week I blogged about how parents were freaking out about virtual learning at https://theordinarymom.com/255r. Now all of our three kids are all back in school via distance learning at three different schools with different schedules and workloads. It was a week of adjusting. They missed a couple of video calls early in the week due to figuring out the new technology, having to get out of bed at a reasonable hour, trying to find the webinar link, or needing to be on a schedule again but we survived the week.  We are so lucky that all of our kids have amazing teachers who are understanding of the challenges everyone is having in getting back to school. I’m hopeful that next week will be smoother and we’ll get into a groove.  

This week I want to dedicate this blog to teachers. Here is my ode to all of the amazing teachers out there:

  • Thank you for letting us send our children to you five days a week for all those years. I never appreciated it as much as I do now.
  • Thank you for not judging us (at least to our faces) when our kids showed up late, without shoes (yes, that happened once with eight-year-old Ellie when she was in Kindergarten), hair not brushed, wearing pajamas pants, tired because their extracurricular schedules are crazy or grumpy because they stayed up too late.
  • Thank you for having unlimited patience with our children. We all need to follow your example more at home. 
  • Thank you for all of the extra work you do outside of school time to keep your classes running smoothly. 
  • Thank you for caring about all of your students even when your classrooms are overcrowded and underfunded.
  • Thank you for taking the time and money to go to school to be professionally trained for this job. Those of us who are not professionally trained for this are really appreciating the time you spent learning how to be a teacher. 
  • Thank you for juggling being a parent yourself (if you have kids) and also having to do your job now from home. We feel your pain. 
  • Thank you for teaching our children Common Core. I’m a total supporter of it but I don’t have the patience to relearn math so I’m glad that you did.  
  • Thank you for entering into this new world of distance learning with gusto. I know we parents are complaining about the extra work we have with our kids being at home but you have jumped in feet first to learn new skills to keep our kids engaged and moving forward.  
  • Thank you for making the video calls with kids engaging and entertaining as well as educational. Video calls can be chaotic enough and I can’t imagine trying to lead a class of ~25 kids virtually.   
  • Thank you for having the passion to do a job that undervalues your knowledge and pays you much less than you are worth. We promise to work together to fight to increase teacher salaries.  

We parents appreciate you and I’m sorry if we haven’t told you that enough.   

Other than Jackson (13) and Lucy (10) going back to school (it was Ellie’s third week), here is what else happened in our world last week:

  • I want to give my wife, Lori, 100% credit for her amazing food planning, food procuring and cooking. She’s obsessively ordering from local farms that are delivering so that we are eating well but it’s been like adding a part time job for her. I acknowledge our privilege as we have not had not to be worried about food now and I’m so grateful to her for taking on this herculean task as I’m one of the main beneficiaries of this. 
  • Lucy got a phone. We weren’t going to get her one yet but she went for three weeks without connecting with any friends so we changed our minds and got her a phone. She turned into a tween overnight and is texting her friends and texting us to play games with her (often when we are on work calls). We are going to have to figure out the right balance of allowing her to be social without her getting addicted to her phone but I am happy that she is connecting with friends again. 
  • I am now at 80% pay and time for my job so I took the last two Fridays mostly off by only checking email reactively and having one meeting. It was really nice to sort of have  three day weekends (at home, of course). 
  • I’ve been watching the Tiger King on Netflix. It  is so bizarre but I can’t stop watching it. Are these people for real? I keep thinking they are going to say that it’s a mockumentary.
  • The PE teacher (aka Jackson) invited Lori and I to an exhibition last Friday. The girls were doing a plank contest and there was money on the line as Jackson was paying the winner up to $7 depending on how long they could do a plank (which took a large chunk out of his pay). The goal was to see who could do a seven minute bent arm blank. They both did seven minutes so we doubled the pot and they both got $7.  I’m so impressed with them all. This PE teacher is worth every penny.  
  • Speaking of planks, the kids challenged Lori and I to each to a one minute bent armed plank.  Of course Lori sailed through it but I’m happy to report I was able to do it too. 
  • Ellie told me, “It’s a great time for parents to have kids right now”. When I asked her why she said, “It gives parents someone to play with when they are at home all day”.  Ok, that made me stop and think about this from an eight-year-old’s point of view. 
  • On one of my many dog walks, I saw a woman walking her cat on a leash. Is that a thing?
  • We had a simple Easter but it was nice. We ordered baskets from our local bookstore and they delivered them the day before Easter. We also found six plastic eggs left over from last Easter and hid them with money. The kids were happy so we’ll chalk that up to a win. 
  • Ellie doesn’t want to go outside any more. We make the kids go outside and exercise every day and Ellie is now happy to just stay indoors. You’d think they’d be dying to get outside.  I’m a little scared and sad about this development. 
  • I’ve started paying the girls for daily foot massages. I love massages and they love making money so we are all happy. 

That’s a wrap for this week. Thanks again to all of the teachers out there. I am blown away by your resilience and patience and we parents appreciate you, even if we still grumble sometimes about the extra workload that virtual schooling is on us. Everyone be kind to those you are sheltering at home with and reach out to someone who might need extra support during these crazy times.  

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