As schools and daycare centers across the country close their doors as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, parents are having to adapt to virtual learning and homeschooling for the very first time. Many are feeling overwhelmed and at a loss for resources while taking on the new challenge. Some, like Shonda Rhimes, have even expressed gratitude toward teachers by sharing the difficulty that they’ve faced in the first few days of taking on the new role at home. “Teachers deserve to make a billion dollars a year. Or a week,” she tweeted this week.
And although teachers’s salaries certainly haven’t gone up, educators everywhere continue to offer additional help with a trending social media message and the hashtag #bettertogether.
“While we are all homeschooling/remotely/digitally educating our kids, if you need assistance with understanding something that has been assigned for your child, or if you need more resources, just give me a shout,” reads one post. “I am a teacher and will be happy to answer questions. We WILL get through this! #bettertogether.”
The message has made its way across countless Facebook profiles with educators noting their specific certifications. Some have even created Facebook groups to aggregate helpful tools for at-home learning.
“A group designed to help educators and families best support students during the COVID-19 outbreak,” the description of one started by a teacher in Cincinnati reads. “Please share resources and ideas to promote learning through home-based instruction. Additionally, parents, if you need assistance with understanding something that has been assigned for your child, please reach out.”
Bex Schulman, an Illinois-based educator who posted the popular message to her Facebook page, explains to Yahoo Lifestyle why offering support for those struggling with students at home is so important. “I know how nuanced learning is for kids and wanted to make myself available to anyone who might feel worried about their child not staying ‘sharp’ during this crazy time,” she says. “There are a lot of resources parents and kids can use online or strategies parents can use at home to help their kids continue learning in an untraditional sense.”
Much of that concern stems from the extra time that children have now to play games and disengage from educational activities. In response, educators have offered creative ways for kids to stay productive while parents are afforded the time to work.
Samantha Abrams, an art educator in New Jersey, says those activities are vital for ensuring that a child is learning outside of traditional homework. “It is not about making sure the children can add and subtract. We want to make sure our students have problem-solving, social and self-help skills and become independent people,” she explains. “I think the best thing to do with so much extra downtime is to create some type of schedule.”
Abrams has sent families a list of online resources to help with just that, in addition to setting up video chats with students for individualized support. While she’s happy to help, she hopes that these particular circumstances will allow people to realize the true value of teachers.
“It is during crazy times like these where we need all hands on deck,” she says. “I hope that people really begin to understand all of the things teachers are responsible for on a day-to-day basis.”
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