My original post was going to go something like, “Top 5 tips for being organized as an educator…” I planned this about 2 months ago. A lot has changed in 2 months.
Overnight, teachers across the world were asked to change their delivery of instruction to digital learning. Every student was asked to begin a whole new level of self monitoring and pacing to complete weeks worth of education digitally. This is not even addressing those who do not have consistent access to internet, both teachers and students. Students who became full time babysitters while parents continued to work or teachers who began working from home while also having children of their own at home with them. Or the millions of people who may be scared as they watched people around them struggling with COVID-19.
What teachers have been asked to do is unprecedented.
As I sat down at my computer to write I told my husband I did not know if I wanted to write about digital learning. Yes, that is what people are searching for right now, but a large part of me is desperately missing normalcy. He suggested I got and search for inspiration; looking for a way to find normalcy in my career and yet staying relevant with what people are needing. So, naturally, I got on social media and this is what I saw:
“Let them sleep in”
“No need to get dressed for the day”
“Use screen time so you can get your things done.”
“Children should do no more than 2 hours of school a day while at home.”
“I can’t believe my child had an assignment for EVERY CLASS!”
And then there are the jokes that gave me a good laugh:
“There are parents all over America that are just realizing the teacher is NOT the problem.”
“Day 1 of homeschooling- trying to figure out how to get this kid transferred out of my class.”
“All these kids learning Common Core math, bout to learn how to “carry the one” from their new homeschool teacher.”
This last week has been a whirlwind and it is not over.
Without knowing exactly how long we will be doing digital learning, teachers have to plan for the worst, the rest of the school year, and hope for the best. Not only do teachers have to figure out how to continue to deliver instruction digitally and meeting the needs of all students with a variety of different circumstances, we also have to provide adequate resources to working parents.
In my household, I have a 9 year old daughter and a 12 year old son who have the privilege of spending A LOT of the foreseeable future with me. We are also fortunate that my husband is a blog writer and has mastered the art of working from home.
After day 1 he told me I would not survive. I woke up and immediately started working in the clothes I had slept in, I took lunch around 2:00pm and finished working after 7:00 that night. I am an extroverted work-aholic and I needed help. He sat me down and we came up with a game plan for me while working at home.
From this conversations my blog post has changed to “How to Stay Organized While Teaching From Home”
Tip 1: Morning Routine
He suggested I treat my mornings like any other morning.
- 30 Minute Workout
- Wake Kids Up
- Look Over Today’s Schedule
- Brush Teeth
- Leave the House
So besides step 8, I should try and follow the same routine (I definitely do not spend the same amount of time on step 7 as I did before). I following my routine the rest of the week and I can tell you from personal experience, I felt so much better having my mornings back.
Tip 2: Transitions
Transitions are an essential part of planning your day. How will you transition from activity to the next? What protocols do you have in place to help transitioning from PE back to the classroom? But now we are asking “How will I transition from one lesson planning, digital tool learning, answering emails to the next task?”
Schedule. Schedule. Schedule.
I even did this for the children. Each day my children have 1 hour for Literacy and 1 hour for Math. If they finish their assignment for the day in 30 minutes then they have to continue that topic for the remainder of the time. If it is Literacy they can read or do IXL for the rest of the time. For Math I have practice sheets like multiplication they can do or Prodigy/IXL.
I am doing the same. If I had an hour to answer emails or contact parents and I finish up after 45 minutes, I will spend the next 15 minutes learning about new tools and resources to make communication more beneficial during this time.
**My ESL people- currently learning about Talking Points. As I learning more I will let everyone know!
Create a schedule for the family and follow it. This will keep everyone sane!
Tip 3: Food
Social media is lit up with funny memes about gaining weight during this time and I completely understand. I want to snack. All. Day. Long. Even though I know I do not need to.
Again, think about being at school/work . When do you normally eat in those settings? Make it a part of your schedule to only eat during those time. This will help everyone in the house keep with some normalcy during otherwise potential chaos.
Tip 4: Work Space
This one may be more difficult if your house is not set up with an office. My house is not, but we did make the desk in the living my personal working area.
Having this specific space helps me feel like walking into my office. I have left my personal life at the door and I have stepped into my educator role. As I stated earlier, transitions are big and we have to have a way to distinguish when we are working and when we are home. When I am sitting at the desk everyone in this house knows I am working. When it is time for me to “leave work” I closed up my work station, put my books and computer away, and leave my desk. I am now home for the evening.
Tip 5: Personal Care
This last one may be the most important. As always, an educator can only be their best for students if we are taking care of ourselves. This still applies. Organize and establish times to take care of yourself. Here are a list of ways you can do this.
- Coffee To-Go
- Go on a Walk
- Order Food To-Go
- Online Therapy Sessions
- Get a Good Night of Sleep
- Read a Book- not for work
- Do a Puzzle
- Follow the Above Recommendations
- Normal Eating Time
- Schedule- you and children
Be Easy on Yourself- we are all learning and we will all make mistakes. Guess what, it’s okay.
The one take away I want anyone who is reading this is- the more organized you are will not only make the transition to digital learning easier, but it will help establish positive habits that will carry over into every day work life. Schedules and routines are your best friends. Use them wisely.