A teacher’s letter to all parents responsible for helping their children with remote learning!

May 11, 2020

Dear Mom, Dad, Guardian,

March 2020 will forever be the time when our lives have changed drastically: our homes became not only places we live, but places we work and teach our children. Even though it is well known that parents’ are their child’s first teacher, but the truth is when it comes to actual schooling parents are not necessarily equipped with the toolbox of methods, materials, and strategies all teachers have gathered for years. Your job as a parent is to teach love and life, and to show them the world! The sudden necessity of putting on a teacher’s hat creates waves and imbalance in a home. How do you manage it all?? How to survive the lockdown, face the uncertainty, reassure your child everything will be ok, keep them safe and healthy, fulfill your job duties, make endless meals, shop for groceries, do laundry, etc. The list never ends. How do you manage it all??

First and foremost, you need to set up a schedule that will benefit everyone. As a family, develop what works for all of you and stick to the routine. All children, the younger and older ones, need to know what comes next. Keeping a schedule will allow for a better flow of all activities in the house and let you keep your sanity. It also will eliminate endless questions as kids can just look some things up on the schedule and solve their own problems.

Stick to the bedtime hour as much as possible, let the school nights be just that. Meals also need to be served at a certain time or you will find yourself prepping food all day long. And who wants to do that? Have a list of chores everyone will be responsible for. Kids should be helping around the house, be responsible for bedroom clean up, dishwasher, or anything else you seem fit. These all count as learning activities as well, it all depends on how you approach it.

In addition to chores, focus on the good and fun by establishing free time, will it be indoors or out, as a family or individual. Your children are missing their friends more than they can express so help them connect via video conferences, let them play virtually together. They need human contact more than you do. This is also the time to be silly, make forts, and eat ice cream in them, cook and bake together, have dance-offs, dress-up days and spa days. Yes, it might be exhausting at times, but you will look back at this time and think about all the beautiful memories you created.

Document it all and create a time capsule!

Talk about your feelings and cuddle. In a world when we rush from one activity to another, this is the time to slow down and simply BE… It might seem strange now, but believe me when we go back to our “regular activities” you will look back at this time with a certain fondness.

Setting up school space, a designated area with a desk or a table, computer, iPad, or any other device the kids need. You, as a working from home parent, need that too. Your child’s job is to do all the school activities, while you have your own work duties. You are both working side by side now. Also, be very transparent with the kids as they need to know and understand your role has changed for the time being. You will be responsible for helping them learn and they need to respect that. Are you going to be doing things as their teachers do? Probably not! Will you try your best? Of course! And that is good enough. If you struggle with the assignments and the curriculum in general, call or email the teacher or a social worker, they will be happy to help. You are the educational partner, even though your role has changed somewhat. Do teachers expect perfectly done assignments and turned on time? Sure, some of them might. But if that does not happen it will not be the end of the world.  We understand, believe me! I would not be able to do your job as a financial analyst or an accountant, then why would I expect from you to become a teacher within a day?

The above-mentioned points are not just for the remainder of the year. Please keep in mind this situation might continue through the next school year. And if it does, your kids will be prepared, they will know what to expect because you set up the groundwork. And if the children do start a new year in an actual school building, the teachers will be immensely grateful to you for having routines so the school day does not seem so rigid.

In the end I want to stress how important self-care is. Changing from your night pajamas into your day pajamas may be fun for a few days, but after a while, you will need to do something else. Put on some makeup and wear jeans for a change, otherwise, you will get stuck in a rut. Being strong through it all and keeping up with demands all around is not an easy task. Sometimes you might feel like crawling in bed and crying, and that is ok. A good cry never hurt anyone. But always remember: you are not alone, reach out to your friends, loved ones, or professionals if you need help. There are so many resources you can choose from doctors to free online coaching. www.coacharya.com Connecting with people is more important than ever now. And remember, this too shall pass. Our world will never be the same but we will find a new normal, eventually…


All teachers everywhere

Edyta Wydmanski
Edyta Wydmanski

Edyta Wydmanski

Edyta Wydmanski is an English as a Second Language teacher in Skokie, Il and an adjunct at North Park University In Chicago, teaching courses about bilingual education. Over her 20 year career in education, in addition to teaching, Wydmanski worked closely with the diverse population at her school and community, lead multiple workshops and international events, brought in the nationally recognized Parent Mentor Program to build even a closer relationship between teachers and parents, and has had a dynamic leadership role in the area of equity and culture at her place of work. Wydmanski is passionate about immigrant issues, diversity and helping women achieve greatness. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, cooking, baking, listening to audiobooks, and travel.

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