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Column: One parent's perspective on surviving e-learning while working from home

I’ve always said it takes a special person to be a teacher. From knowing how to make a little person understand a new concept to the patience of dealing with interruptions and naughty behavior to just loving a classroom of kids that are not yours, they are truly amazing people.  

And now, we as parents are trying to fill in for these special people, some of us while working from home. It isn’t easy.  

I start my workday before my kids are out of bed. I’ve learned that it’s good to check emails and get my plan for the day established before all hell breaks loose. Once 9 a.m. hits, the Wi-Fi and my nerves start to get stretched.  

Thankfully, my eighth grader pretty much handles her e-learning on her own. My fourth grader is a different story.  

It’s a balancing act for sure. What time is his Zoom meeting? What time is my Zoom meeting? Which room can I work in with the least disruptions, but still keep tabs on him? He’s marching around practicing multiplication facts out loud, and I’m trying to focus on reading through a city council story. The struggle is real.  

We’ve both had to adjust and be patient with each other. Sometimes I just have to stop working and help. Sometimes he needs to head out to the trampoline to bounce off some energy if I can’t step away at the very second he needs something.  

We’re starting to develop a system. We make lists. We check things off. We do our best.  

It’s a crazy world we are living in right now. And although the world is crazy and my house is chaotic at times, there is so much to be thankful for. I think about how different this could be – the what ifs.  

What if we didn’t have all this technology at our fingertips – Zoom meetings, Google Classroom, Flipgrid and more? Our students are able to continue learning through these resources. Maybe not as well as in the classroom, but they are still learning.  

What if this had happened at the beginning of the year? I am thankful that they have had many months together in the classroom with their teachers. They know each other, what is expected and any special needs.  

What if we didn’t live in a district that had made getting the majority of our students 1:1 with Chromebooks a priority? I only had to share my computer one time when a Chromebook hadn’t gotten charged the night before. I know in many houses, students and parents are having to share technology.  

So we will persevere and accept that some days will be more productive than others. We will stay safe and continue doing what is best to be sure we come through this pandemic a stronger family in a stronger community. And we will have great stories to pass down to future generations about how our world shut down, but we carried on.

• Candy Johnson is the editorial assistant for the Record Newspapers.

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