As my first summer semester begins, I want to approach it the same as I would fall and spring semesters. Each class is just as important as the other, but this summer comes with a twist. Thanks to COVID-19, we are all dreaming of the perfect summer vacation from the more or less comfort of our own homes, but this is the perfect time to adapt your outlook on life. As tons of people have said before, it's all about perspective. Even though I've spent most of quarantine either working or binge-watching the newest Netflix originals, I have noticed a few things about my mom teaching online.
My mom, bless her heart, teaches preschool. I say that because kids are one thing at home and another at school. For years, I have witnessed the little angels and terrors they can be, but I always remind my mom that preschool provides the building blocks for the rest of their lives. Think about it, where would you be without learning the alphabet and how to count? Exactly, you would be nowhere. Granted you can learn these critical foundations in kindergarten, but at a more advanced pace and you run the risk of falling behind. Anyway, I have picked up a few tips from this observation and I am applying them to our experience.
This one isn't actually related, but still valuable for gaining perspective. My mom schedules weekly zoom meetings with her kids. Sounds like no big deal, right? Actually, try hosting a meeting with 20 four-year-olds and let me know how it goes. She has to schedule four or five kids at a time which results in multiple meetings per week. She has to learn zoom's technology while wrangling her students. For them, and for all of us, new technology and a new situation can be overwhelming. So, she has to be patient and a shoulder to lean on for the parents. I think we can all learn from this and have empathy for what people are going through, pandemic or not.
Second, public and private school teachers are told to only work for three hours a day by hosting "office hours". During this time, teachers answer emails from parents and upload any assignments for the day or week. However, in my experience of talking to my mom about it, it's a lot more than it seems. She sits at her computer for well over three hours a day responding to emails and making sure she responds to submitted assignments. The point is that time management is SO important. My brother and I moved back in due to COVID-19, and now she spends more time cooking and cleaning versus the amount of time spent when it was just her. If you find that online school is taking up more of your time than you'd like, start with the basic time management steps: keep track of your homework with a planner or an app, make to-do lists that break down your assignments into smaller tasks, and schedule in time to relax and exercise. Your stress levels will thank you.
In addition to these steps, I typically have a planning session either on Saturday or Sunday nights, and I lay out all of my assignments for the week (in each class's assigned color, obvi) and I also break down each step of each assignment in the homework section of the page in my planner. This way, I can stay organized and I have a good idea of how much time I'll be spending on homework and studying. Remember to take breaks and practice self-care!