If you're like me becoming a teacher, teachers' aide or co-teacher was never something I strived to be. However, life as it does has thrown many of us a curve ball in the form of Covid-19. The enormous amount of pressure one may be feeling is normal. I will say it, this situation sucks. But we are not powerless in this moment, it just requires us to focus, plan, organize and prioritize.
Traditionally we are used to working and having time to work, meet and discuss on-going tasks for work with our co-workers, managers and customers/clients. Now that has all changed to include getting kids online for class, making snacks, tuning in to ensure that your child is focused on what the teacher is saying and not zoning out, possibly becoming an IT consultant, a lunch aide and a Zoom or whatever new school software they're using specialist.
Here is where the focusing starts. We now must retrain our brains to review and prioritize our work. Some of us are lucky to have understanding bosses while some of us are not so lucky. For those that fall into the lucky crowd, remember that communication is key. Work with your boss to see if a flexible schedule can be agreed upon. Such as working an earlier or later schedule and for meetings let them know what times are best to see if a set time can be arranged. For those not so lucky, communication is still important. Make sure you stay on top of the important items and set time aside to handle the rest.
Easier said than done, right? First take five minutes to compose yourself, clear your head and get your thoughts together. Once you have composed yourself, now review what all needs to be done on a big picture scale for the week and write them down. Writing down your to do list is key, because it is something tangible and easy to reference to keep you on track. Review your list and begin putting them in order of importance. Then decide on how much time is needed to complete each task. Once that is done, you can begin to assign days for when you plan on working on that task. This can help make the impossible seem less daunting and more manageable.
The tricky part comes with having to combine your child's work into your schedule. Depending on the age of the child and the level of assistance needed can make some of us want to scream out loud using profanity laced imagery words that would make the saltiest of sailors blush. Take comfort in knowing you are not alone. Those of us with younger kids know keeping them engaged and on task in no easy feat. And to you I say - go with God.
Seriously, working with younger kids is more challenging, but it can be managed. Work nearby, so that if an issue arises you can assist or correct it and get back to your work. Working nearby also allows you to gauge how involved your child is with the teacher. If your child seems to be wondering off, quick reminder to stay focus may help. It also allows you insight into what the teacher is experiencing. After class and after you have completed your tasks for the day, send the teacher an email letting her know what you have observed and work together to find a solution. One may be informing the teacher that when you notice that your child needs a quick break to recoup, he/she may disappear from the class for about 5 minutes to regroup.
Lastly, at the end of the day when class is over, take a few minutes to regroup. Take inventory of what you accomplished and what did not get accomplished today. Pat yourself on the back for everything you did get done, no matter how little or how much that was. Review the work that did not get completed and decide if it was something that must be done or could be moved to a different day. If it must be done and the deadline is today, roll up your sleeves and muscle through it. But if it does not have a due right now deadline; move it to another day. Finally, take 30 minutes for self-appreciation. In that time frame, you need to take a moment and unwind. This could be simply sitting in silence, watching a few minutes of mind numbing tv, check your media feeds or whatever brings you a small piece of bliss.
Once you have taken that thirty-minute debriefing for yourself, then wrap up what needs to be taken care of for the rest of the night and evaluate what needs to take place tomorrow. In these turbulent times, it is important to remember that this is uncharted territory for most of us, but we will get through it.