Home Learning has been challenging for everyone— students, teachers, staff, and especially parents. Parents are balancing working at home— some working outside the home in essential jobs— and helping their students in their learning. On Tuesday, we hosted our fifth episode of Let’s Talk Education and spoke with teachers and staff about their experiences as both teachers and parents during this time and the top advice they have for parents.
1. Reach out for help if you need it
“We want families to know we are here to support them,” says Southwest Area Superintendent Margaret Crespo. “ If you have a concern, please reach out— teachers, principals— all here to help. This is the most partnership we’ve had because we have to do it together,” Crespo continues.
BVSD has created this graphic to show different areas you can get support.
2. Give feedback
This is new for everyone, and we are all still learning what works best and adjusting as needed. If as a parent or student something isn’t working or you have a concern, reach out to your teacher or principal.
“Teachers are all receptive to that feedback,” says Fairview High Science Teacher Paul Strode. “We want to make sure we’re hitting it right for all students.”
Taren Villeco, 5th grade teacher at Ryan Elementary, received feedback from parents that there was too much work on the computer. So she took a step back and adjusted her plans.
“We found different ways to deliver lessons that get the kids to look at the content, but then also come up with a project that gets them off the screen,”she says. For Earth Day last week Villeco showed some videos to her kids and then gave them a project offline and asked them to spend some time outside and send her photos.
“Those are activities we want to see them doing. We want them to get outside like they did for recess,” says Villeco.
3. Find learning everywhere and get outside
“Learning can happen without an assignment being given. Go out and enjoy each other’s company,” says Villeco. “ The real world is learning and can be fun.”
Doing things like cooking together, going for a walk around the neighborhood, creating something, and playing are all learning experiences you can do with your kids. You don’t have to be sitting at a desk with an assignment to learn. With the beautiful weather ahead of us, getting outside can help your mind and help you reconnect. Check out Thorne Nature Center’s #OutsideEveryDay challenge for creative ideas.
4. Give yourself and your kids space
“ Give yourself space to be okay,” says Crespo. “ You are all doing great.”
Likewise, be patient with your kids. They are struggling and doing what they can. Work with them to figure out what works best for them and who they are. Ask them what they want to do and give them the space to do it.
“When they have difficult times, it's easy to blame ourselves, what am I not doing,” says Crespo. “Instead, find a time to just play with them and engage outside of schoolwork.”
“And don’t forget to laugh together,” says Manhattan Middle School Principal, John Riggs.”
This situation can really weigh on everyone and we hear negative things every day. “Keep it positive,” says 2nd grade University Hill teacher, Marina Orozco-Ngu. “ Taking the time to make this experience as positive it can be even through the difficulty.”
“We are all in this together for all kids,” says Crespo. “ It’s all good; we will get through this together.”