It’s April 1, 2020 and no this is not an April Fools Joke–School is closed. Covid-19 has changed a lot of plans. Some of you who never dreamed of “homeschooling” have been thrust into it and you’re tired and overwhelmed. Chances are you were already “mom tired” and now there’s a bit of “teacher tired” added to it. If you didn’t go to school to be a teacher, you might be feeling overwhelmed and underqualified. I’m writing today to prove to you that you are more qualified than you think.
I have an English degree. When I got my degree I went for the state teacher certification. I stayed in school until I got my masters degree and I became a K-12 Reading Specialist. I have experience teaching in several places. According to the powers that be, you might say that I’m a “highly qualified” teacher. The truth is long before I got a degree and long after the last time I sat in a college class, experienced mothers have been and continue to be my most valuable teachers. Are there specific skills I honed in on in school and through teaching experience? Sure. But mothers are still my teachers. You are qualified with some different and valuable skillsets and as a teacher, I don’t know what I would do without you.
Here are the reasons I know you can handle this:
You were their teacher first.
Chances are you, you potty-trained your child; that is not easy to teach. You taught them language and self care. You worked with them on obedience and manners. Everything they have brought to school started with you and will continue with you after they leave each class.
Teachers can tell you’ve taught them at home.
I’ve heard so many teachers say over the years, “I’m doing what I can, but if they aren’t getting it from home, what else can I do?” We know when students have been taught respect, work ethic, a love of learning, and so many other things from home. We also know that none of them are perfect and they will sometimes say and do things contrary to what you taught–but for the most part what you instill at home comes with them to school. You may feel, like a lot of us, that your kids listen to other teachers better than they listen to you. As a teacher, I know students listen to me better when they were taught to at home. I know how it feels to teach and teach my child good behavior with power struggles and then see them behave exceptionally for other adults (why do they do that?), but these teachings that were sowed are clicking with them nonetheless. This doesn’t mean you can’t get your child to learn from you; it just looks different at home than it does at school sometimes. I know that can be hard. It’s also okay. The point is, you were, are, and will be their teacher forever whether you thought of yourself as one or not.
You have resources.
What do you want to know “how to teach”? What challenge do you have with managing school time and home time within your four walls? Where can you get a great video tutorial for that math problem? Who can help you figure out what your child really needs to know in order to not get behind? How do you keep your baby busy while you help your big kid with homework? The answers to all of these questions are right here on the internet and may take the form of a blog, YouTube video, a smart friend on social media, in an email to the teacher, and more. You have so many resources now that mothers at the beginning of this century didn’t have. Find a few favorite “go-tos” and make the most of them.
You probably still have access to your child’s teacher.
Just an email, phone call, or electronic gradebook away on your smart phone or computer is that highly qualified teacher who sent home worksheets or set up something like Google Classroom. They are no longer in the physical classroom teaching 20-120 kids a day. They are now sitting at home with their devices putting out their lessons in hope that some of their hard work will stick–and sometimes they are only hearing the faint sound of crickets in return for hours on end. If you have questions, please ask. Also, with all that you have to do at home, be so glad that someone else is gathering resources and planning lessons for you because it takes a lot of work off of the homeschool load. Presently I’m homeschooling my pre-k child and putting up lessons online for my high school students while still maintaining a home and meals. I’m so thankful my child’s teacher is providing the resources while I work to provide the resources for my high schoolers. I feel a big difference in my responsibilities with the community and help from our school online. I am sure they will be a big help to you too.
I may be “highly qualified” by state standards, but by God’s standards, so are you. He has equipped you with everything you need to make it through this season of uncertainty. I’ll call it the season of throwing our plans out of the window and our hands up in the air in total reliance on God. You are equipped with your intuition and passion as a mom as well as the resources and people God has put in your life. You can help teach your kids academics, because you’ve already been teaching them everything else.