Parents turn teachers amid COVID-19 | 03 April 2020
Yes it is the reality of today! In most countries of the world, parents have turned teachers amid the COVID-19. It is proving to be quite hectic as usually parents help their children only with homework and now the tables have turned. Parents stay with their children all day long and they are expected to go through the curriculum. Many have heard these comments several times by now I guess: “But my teacher does not do it like that! Or “My teacher does not scream at me!” or “I do not understand mama!”
We feel your pain parents! There is a common saying that parents are the primary educators of their child. “Learning not only happens at school but also at home because parents are teachers. Everything you do sets an example for your child. This is an opportunity for you to create high-quality educational experiences for your children while doing ordinary things, such as making meals. There are many resources online to support you in identifying ideas, but not all are created equally. Try to limit screen time and find activities that encourage creativity, use multiple materials, and allow for sensory play,” notes the American GG Weisenfeld regarding the role of parents during COVID-19.
To understand the real situation at home, once again we asked our parents how are they coping now they have to wear two hats!
Shiv and Meryl Padayachy (Qatar): “Home work at home has been fun. Both Daddy and Kaylen have been enjoying it very much. Daddy says it's quality time with big boy too. They usually share 30 to 45 minutes doing different kinds of activity. We download school work on twinkl and print it for him to do. It's a great website.”
Marie-Michelle Cesar (Praslin): “I am already a crèche teacher so I find it easy to cope with my 7-year-old and 4-year-old sons. I have also made their little teaching corner. I have a little issue with my 12-year-old son, Andriano, who is in secondary but I stood with my best effort to follow up his studies online and with the books I bought for him.
Bella Damou: “From being a public relations executive to a teacher is not that difficult for me, as I have teaching experience; but teaching a group of students and your own child is a big difference. As a parent you have expectations and you want your child to bring out his best potentials that you know and believe they possess. Thanking my company Cable & Wireless for allowing me and all other parents in the company to work around our kids learning hours; I find teaching my son quite challenging, as we are using the Google classroom and the teaching method is new to me. The hardest is the way we learned in my school days and that of nowadays are different, which ends up in us having disagreements; but we have the ‘agree to disagree’ policy. I want to encourage all parents that even if they do not have the ability to do home schooling, they should encourage their kids to at least read a book or watch educational videos; that will enable them to go back to their routine once the crisis dies out.”
Nadine Andre (Mahé): “Well ever since I'm a mother I do consider myself to be a teacher but with regards to my child being at home schooling, honestly we do more home activities such as baking brownies, going for little walks in the woods, watching movies at home and one thing for sure I am enjoying the time I’m spending with my precious gem Amani. Every 2100hrs we all gather in the living room for prayer time so that this calamity will end. In all corona has its negative aspects but it's teaching us to change a lot of our rituals that we used to do and to live life as simple and loving as possible, enjoying and appreciating what God has given us and to respect it.”
Betty Baaba Doku (Mahé) : “Becoming a teacher to my Secondary 2 student offers me the opportunity to be involved in what they are learning. I have become more aware of what they are learning and give me the satisfaction that they are learning, developing skills, and maturing. I get to spend more time with them with the opportunity to teach them other things which are not learnt at school such as religion and other life skills while building a stronger relationship with them.
“Becoming a teacher to my child also comes with some challenges. I have to plan school timetables and activities and make sure assignments are handed in on time. This gives me less time for myself each day making it a potential situation for stress and fatigue while taking on parenting and teaching responsibilities. The children miss their friends and the social dynamic of school, which is impossible to replicate at home. They miss their football academy and sometimes need space away from us. They feel isolated and bored and frustrated, so they tend to eat a lot.”
Jean Hassan (Mahé): “However for me home schooling is nothing new as during the holidays this is what I do. We always give them lessons in books that we have purchased ourselves. I also get help from my mother in law who is a retired teacher. Still it has its challenges as we are also working and I’m the only one working from home. Under the circumstances we have to make do. It’s important to strike a balance though. My eldest is 8 and the other one is 4 and their attention span is not the same. We do some lessons in the morning after breakfast and then in the afternoon after 3pm. In between they play, watch TV and play educational games on iPad. They help around the house as well, bake and go to the beach. The eldest one has revived lessons from Independent School on the website we have printed them and ensure that she does at least one science, English and maths daily. I take the opportunity to thank teachers who are trying their best at this time noting that most have their own children as well and this situation we are all going through together is new and challenging.
“Parents have to realise that we will never be as good as the teachers for our kids and they may compare us to their teachers but at the end of the day I believe we are all giving the best of ourselves. Don’t stress ourselves out too much, take it one day at a time. There may be days when we will be too lenient or too strict but that’s life, there are good days and bad days but the most important thing is to carry on and know that we are all in this together. Do keep in touch with other friends who are parents and talk about home schooling, laugh about it as well. I bet there are many silly stories to share. Keep in touch with teachers as well if you can as they also need our support. We all have hope that this will pass and few years from now it will become a memory filled not only with fear of the unknown but with lovely stories and experiences to be told for years to come.”
Oushnajohn Zoe Labrosse (Praslin): “For me it's nothing new but challenging. We do some math, English reading, science and social studies activities online. Well technology has made it easier for me. He is not always into studies as he is not at school. His friends are not around. He gets bored easily. But I try to give him breaks in between, like every 30 minutes he has a 15 minute break. We also do some art and craft, sewing and colouring.”
Sherin Francis (Mahé): “I have to say really hard. The first two weeks I had to report to work so home schooling was from 6 onwards and the time was not conducive at all.
“From this week I am working from home and therefore home schooling is much more manageable but not any less easier because I have to work at the same time.
“I find my younger girl is harder to deal with because she works much less independently, there are much more interactions required and her attention span is much shorter. However, I have to say looking at it from the bright side, I am enjoying the quality time with them while having to be the teacher.”
Cindy Ballaram (Mahé): “For me to be a teacher at home is a little bit complicated, as l have to cope with cleaning, cooking, and do homework with my daughter and son is not easy. l get some difficulties because they are not focused and every time you have to repeat the same exercises.”
For people like us who are working or working from home, I must be very frank. I still have a lot to catch up with home works as my husband is not good at French. It is indeed not a ‘normal’ time in our lives and we are all trying our best. Let’s hope that once schools resume, the teachers will be doing some revisions with our children, just to make sure they did not miss out on anything.
Good job you all and keep striving and you are already doing your best! Hats off to you all!
Compiled by Vidya Gappy