I have been a teacher for 22 years. I’ve taught second grade, fourth grade, and most recently, I have spent the past 14 years teaching 8th graders, right up until this year. I’ve mastered the art of multi-tasking, redirecting, eating while checking homework, psychoanalyzing, bluffing, and for the most part, checking my pride at the classroom door (What’s that saying? Middle school teachers need a small ego and a large sense of humor? Accurate.)
But nothing prepared me for abrupt shift that happened this week: homeschooling my 7th and 9th grader. I know, I know. There are thousands of parents out there who homeschool their children. I respect their decision and their fortitude.
I am not that parent. My kids go to public school (not my school) so I can get some separation from them and so they will come home full of stories about the marvelous things they learned from their marvelous teachers (hey, a woman can dream). Actually, I send them to school because I am not an expert on everything. Because they need to learn to navigate the social maelstrom of middle and high school. Because I believe in our teachers and in their passion for their subjects as they try to impart their wisdom on my tik-toking, instagram posting teens. God bless those teachers.
So I’m here to tell you that this week has been ROUGH. And this is coming from a teacher; someone who once had to tell a student to please stop writing with a chicken finger. And this week is equally rough because my kids don’t have an online learning program yet. That’s coming on Monday (Once again, huge shout out to the all the teachers who had to put together an online curriculum in ONE WEEK. If that doesn’t restore your faith in public education, I don’t know what will).
So I made this Activity List. It’s not a time table. It’s not a schedule. Like most of you, I’m trying to balance the hours on tik tok with hours of reading or drawing or being outside, or god forbid, doing chores.
It has not been perfect. They are still on their phones too much. But I’m giving myself a hard pass this week as we adjust to a new normal.
And the real winner this week? Our dog Bixby, who is getting lots of extra walks, pets, and play time. Though no one has chosen poop patrol yet as an activity.