Education: Parents and Teachers Guide- Surviving and Thriving in Covid Times

Today I am writing about remote learning and giving some basic ideas and tips on how as parents we can not only survive but thrive during this Covid 19 mess.  As a career teacher it has been a daily learning experience for myself and my students.  It is up and down roller coaster ride of positives, negatives and in between.  With the various stages of Covid, spikes, slow downs and the gaps in between kids have learned 100% online, hybrid learning, and some even in class fulltime.  It is frustrating as a teacher and parent as it has added even more stress, anxiety, and tasks to our daily schedules that are already jam packed.

I did some research and put together a simple list of things that have worked for me as a teacher and have helped the students and parents I teach to do a good job of maintaining grades, assignments, and online schedules.  It has been very challenging and is not the best option for most kids, but it is what it is for now.  As parents and teachers our options are limited to whether we are at home or in the schools because those decisions are generally made by school boards, health departments, governors and others we have little to no control of.  I decided a while back that I would do as I always do and work hard to be the best teacher I could and adapt to the current way things are going and trending.  

Below is a list of things that can be done to help manage some of the stress, anxiety and demand of parenting, teaching, helping, working, and all the other stuff not listed.  As a parent it is tough to have to do this right now, but as parents we owe it to our children to do our very best for them during tough times to show them that standing tall, working hard, staying focused and having faith in ourselves will in the end win out over all.  It will make us better parents, teachers, coaches, mentors, friends, family members and grow our skill set of adapting to change.

1- Create a designated learning space- Do your best to find a learning space for you and the student that is comfortable, well lite and safe.  Our students more so than ever need a good space that allows them to learn, focus, complete work and participate in class. Students do not need to be laying in bed while completing work or attending class.  That can lead to them falling asleep or becoming too relaxed in the learning process.  Know that the teacher is online and cannot see what the student is doing (especially if they have their microphone or camera muted).  So having a space that helps the student learn is key.

2- Set a Routine- Make a schedule and stick to it.  Monitor the situation to make sure the student is attending class and participating just like they would be in regular school.  Give them some time to be kids, teenagers and relax also as part of that schedule.  Teachers would be there making sure they are in class on time, attending to work assignments and as parents we need to do that also.  We cannot assume or just take the students word for it.  

3- Go Over Your Expectations as well as those of the teachers- Email, text, call or zoom meet with the teacher to check on their expectations, what they want from the students, schedules, assignment dates, etc.  This is important as communication between parents and school staff are huge and a student can get lost in the shuffle if this is not taking place.  

4- Encourage Participation and Monitor it- Make sure you child is checking email, grades, assignments, websites and other school related task daily.  Do not assume the kids are doing as they are supposed to. Teenagers will go to other sites, play online games or sleep during class.  They have a a daily routine at school of doing these things and it should be a standard at home as well.

5- Lastly, recognize that we are in a different setting and time right now.  Griping, fussing, venting, and complaining in front of your student is not productive and will not help them stay focused and on task.  Hold yourself accountable and your student accountable to grow, manage life and work through this pandemic until it clears up and the powers that be decided to go back to some normalcy.

Never assume that your student or teacher are 100% in sync with one another.  If the teacher is not doing their job contact them or the the school.  If the student is doing the same, then make sure as a parent you are on top of them.  It is not a students job that is staying home due to Covid to baby sit siblings while you work, work a fulltime job or just not participate at all.  Not all students have internet or as tech savvy as you may think they are.  If you do not have internet or a computer then reach out to the school and ask for help.  They may have options for you such as internet hotspots, loaner laptops and other programs. 

Be encouraged, lift up your students, guide them, mentor them, hold them accountable and most importantly do not take their childhood or teen years away by giving them additional responsibility such as baby sitting, working or chores that they normally would not do.  Regular duties are fine, but giving them additional is a recipe for disaster.  Monitor, Monitor and Monitor some more to make sure they are completing assignments, testing and working like they would in school.  

For my teachers, these are just a few of the ideas I have used to maintain a high percentage of attendance, assignments completion and activity in classes online. 

– Collect parent emails, phone numbers and other contact information.  

– Email the students and parents daily and weekly with updates, assignments and schedules.  

– Invite and encourage the parents to attend classes (as long as they respectfully) stay quiet in the process.  

– Have a parent orientation before the changes go into effect.  Have a google or zoom time parents can log into and speak with you as needed.  I have a designated time two days a week for about a half hour for parents to log in and speak to me.  

– Stay on top of things, keep your grades updated, check attendance and work hard and smart.

– Take time for yourself, if you are not careful you will find yourself sitting at the computer for 10-12 hours.  You must have “you” and “family” time.

– Lastly, remember that as allowed by your administrator, district or state guidelines, have grace before grades.  Show empathy to your students and parents.  Adjust, adapt and overcome the challenges and be that teacher you want to be.  Take care of your kiddos, love them, teach them, mentor them and everything will work out in the end.  

Expectations, Commitment, Excellence, and Discipline are required during not only Covid times but all the time for students, parents and teachers to be more successful in class, life and work!

Coach B

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