Hilarious memes popping up on social media by quarantined homeschooling parents indicate that laughter truly is good medicine in a pandemic.
"Been homeschooling a 6-year-old and 8-year-old for one hour and 11 minutes. Teachers deserve to make a billion dollars a year. Or a week."
"At the end of the first day of homeschooling, my conclusion: Teachers are superheroes. The end."
"Observations after 2.5 hours of homeschooling: 1. Teachers need to be paid more than professional athletes and all of Hollywood. 2. Homeschooling will NOT be in our future plan."
Lighthearted quips help ease stress, but behind the humor is a sincere heightened appreciation for educators from parents who are thrust into an unfamiliar role.
Some think homeschooling is easier for a teacher who’s a parent. In reality, it poses conflicts for the teacher-parent’s time and attention. Teachers often seem to have super powers, but they are mortals, albeit heroic, with their own stressors.
Imagine the beginning of remote instruction falls on the same week your baby is due to be born. But you remain determined that your special-needs students will see your reassuring smiling face on camera.
Visualize yourself as a principal whose workday has stretched to 24/7 and you carry two cell phones so you can respond to the enormous volume of emails and calls, all while managing your elderly parent’s care. Yet, you encourage everyone who depends on your leadership.
Education leaders advise us to keep our children calm, be patient and positive, and avoid stressing about curriculum.
That advice drove our discussion when the Education Foundation of Sarasota County team convened to identify how we could adapt swiftly to continue supporting students and teachers.
We launched virtual support services and resources including college-career advising and mentoring — important for juniors and seniors whose worlds and future plans were upended.
Using social media and digital platforms, we created a social-emotional resource and information hub. Lessons on managing stress before it manages you, managing relationships in tight quarters, managing emotions, bouncing back from challenges and self-management can be accessed by anyone at no charge at EdFoundationSRQ.org/social-emotional-learning-lessons.
The post-crisis outcome we want is for everyone to emerge whole — emotionally, physically, mentally, with new respect, appreciation and gratitude for all who teach our children.
That includes professional educators and all of the newly minted homeschool teachers who crack jokes while keeping school in session, even in the den.
Jennifer Vigne is the president of the Education Foundation of Sarasota County.