With COVID-19 ravaging the lives of everyone around the world, and many living their lives online and from a distance, schools are closed, and young children need their parents to teach them or help them log into their classes. Teachers especially are finding themselves in a position where they have to balance their own teaching with helping their children with all their needs.
Because of the current schooling situation for young children, some teachers have to educate their own children while also teaching their classes. Ms. Fung has “been teaching numbers, colors, alphabets, shapes, and animals,” and has been able to spend more time teaching her son Chinese. Ms. Krupka has to “split the day up according to [her] meetings and classes [to teach her children], and when [she is] not there, they do some ABCmouse on their iPad.” It is difficult for teachers to make time to educate their children while still juggling all the other responsibilities they still have.
“It certainly does not feel like ‘balance’ is achievable in these circumstances,” said Dr. Bernstein. “Like many working parents with young kids, we’ve accepted that we simply cannot complete our work like we normally would when our kids were in school/daycare.” Many teachers with young children are struggling to balance the challenging circumstances of our new reality. Like Dr. Bernstein, many teachers at Ramaz are struggling with the difficulties of their children’s new schedules.
When asked how he is balancing his children’s Zoom schedule and his teaching schedule, Rabbi Schiowitz said, “It is a juggling act. My wife and I both teach, and in between, we try to help the kids with their schoolwork. We try not to stress it and figure that if they miss a class here or there, they will probably be okay.” Many teachers identify with this sentiment. “It is hard juggling their three schedules. We have forgotten a class or come late here and there,” said Ms. Shine. Teachers are working hard to accommodate the schedules of both their students and their children. However, many of them are taking advantage of their newfound “free time” to learn new skills and spend time with their children.
After asking Ms. Gedweiser if she does anything in her spare time with her children, she replied,“Spare time’ is not exactly how I would think about it. We are not catching extra moments in between other things—we need to structure all the time of everyone in the household. ‘Spare time’ is time you find to do things you want, whereas now, our challenge is to find things we want for all the time.” For teachers, structuring time during the coronavirus lockdown is a crucial skill for both work and family life.
Some teachers, however, are using the extra time in their day to spend much-needed time with their children. “I just taught my daughter how to ride a bike,” said Dr. Bernstein, “so she and I now take a daily bike ride around the neighborhood. She’s at a fun age where she enjoys doing lots of things that aren’t what you could call ‘babyish’— cooking and baking good food, reading chapter books, listening to music, [and] watching movies.”
Everyone is being forced to adapt to this new reality of online living. Teachers with young children have to teach their students while also finding the time to take care of their families. They have been working tirelessly to ensure that the needs of their children and their students are met even during this tough situation. Because of their efforts and commitment, teachers today are true frontline heroes of the pandemic.