Enter the Life Of a Remote Teacher With Kids of Their Own!

Enter the Life Of a Remote Teacher With Kids of Their Own!

Teachers around the world are braving a new reality known as virtual distance learning. Separated from their classes and trapped at home with their families, these teachers are facing new challenges that many thought they would never experience. Let’s look inside the mind of one of those teachers as they journal their progress through these uncharted waters.

Day 1: The Journey Begins…

9 A.M.- Ah the joys of being back into the flow as a teacher. The family all got up on time this morning and prepared for a thrilling day of virtual learning. My children brought their laptops to the kitchen table so we could all be in school together. What fun this is going to be!

I’ve scheduled a Zoom meeting with my class at 10 A.M. and I am so looking forward to seeing the faces of all my students.

1 P.M. – Only 5 students joined my Zoom meeting and one of them I had to mute because he was chewing gum into the mic the entire time, but it was still great to see them all again. It was a little hard to concentrate because my own children kept asking me questions about their assignments, but I think we got through it OK. Now that that’s done I’m going to get some housework done and maybe go for a jog to stay in shape during the quarantine. Tonight, I’ll make a really special dinner for the whole family as a way to celebrate getting through this together. Wish me luck!

Day 2: It’s all a learning process!

So, our first day didn’t go exactly as planned, but that’s fine. I didn’t make it out for my jog because the laundry took forever. Who knew my family owned so many pairs of pajamas! My kids eventually got out of bed and logged on to their classrooms. They might have just spent the morning playing video games but I think can I trust them.

I’ve noticed a few more students logged on to look at my assignments today. They didn’t actually do them, but they did look, so that’s nice. I spent most of today in virtual meetings. First, the principal wanted to hold a faculty meeting nice and early, then my grade level wanted to meet and touch base, then my subject area PLC decided to meet real quick after that. I miss my co-teachers so much, it was great seeing them all again, even Katie who felt the need to ask a million questions. Yup… even her.

Day 3: The never-ending email deluge…

It’s been a bit of a rough start but we are working through this. My children have eaten all of our quarantine snacks for the week but that’s OK because I’ve somehow already gained 5 pounds. My exercise today consisted of attempting to answer the hundreds of emails that have been pouring into my inbox from administrators, parents, and students.

I had one parent today ask me to stop by the house and explain the instructions to her child in person, and another asked if she’d be getting paid for all the homeschooling she’s been doing this week. Funny, I’m not shocked by those emails whatsoever.

Day 4: What day is it?

Today has been a bit rough. I spent the morning trying to contact the parents of the 40 students that haven’t logged in yet. That was about as successful as installing a screen door on a submarine. Now my principal wants me to email a report detailing the status of every one of my students. So… there goes my afternoon.

My children are… somewhere in the house, I think. Playing outside maybe? Honestly, I could use a few hours of quiet, so I’ll let it slide. I’m sure they’ll come back when I announce that dinner their dinner will be hot dogs and potato chips. Yes, I’m that tired already.

Day 5: Personal hygiene is just a suggestion.

I’ll just post pictures of the lesson instead of holding video meetings from now on. It’s for everyone’s best. My hair looks like a crow’s nest and I’ve quite frankly given up using makeup. I’ve also been playing a really fun game today. I call it “Do I have seasonal allergies or COVID-19?” Every time I cough my entire family looks at me like they’re about to vote me off the island. 

Day 6: We’re all in this together… whatever “this” is.

Are the walls narrowing in this house or is it just me? Last night’s dinner consisted of Pop-Tarts and… water. I’m pretty sure it was the healthiest thing I’ve eaten in days. My co-teachers wanted to hold a fun video conference last night to chat and catch up. We all look like extras on The Walking Dead so at least I’m not alone. When this is over we’ve all decided to find a place with a generous happy hour and catch up for like 2 or 3… days.

Day 7: Are smoke signals still a thing?

After a solid week of virtual learning, I’m happy to report that almost half of my students completed the assignment I posted. Several of them logged on to tell me they weren’t going to do the assignment, one of them logged in and shared a graphic drawing of the male genitalia, and many more have gone completely AWOL. Thank god for the nice note from administration reminding me it is my responsibility to track down the students that aren’t responding.

Day 8: Send help and toilet paper!

My children run the house now, it’s official. They have taken up residence in the living room where the mind-numbing sounds of Spongebob reverberate off the walls. They continue to assure me their own schoolwork is getting done and I continue to pretend like I’m checking up on it. We’re down to our last roll of toilet paper so the family said someone in this house will have to venture out to the grocery store and attempt to get some. I bravely threw on a jacket over my pajamas, found a hat to cover the twisted ball of hair on my head and shouted “I VOLUNTEER AS TRIBUTE!” and walked out the door… OK, yeah, I sprinted out the door.

Day 9: Is anybody out there?

Well, the grocery store trip didn’t go as planned. I unknowingly showed up during the early hours reserved for elderly shoppers. I tried to enter the store but was chased by a fleet of motorized scooters. They raised their canes in anger and I fled in more fear for my life than I’ve feared the global pandemic. Maybe instead of toilet paper, my family can use all of those ungraded assignments from before the quarantine began. 

Day 10: This is our new reality…

Welcome to the new normal. I rolled out of bed at the crack of 9:30 this morning, my children were already covered in cereal dust and knee-deep into their laptops. I sat in front of my own laptop and for the 20th time this week, I attempted to help this one particular student log in to the assignment that everyone else seems to be able to access no problem.

My initial plan of using this “downtime” to deep clean the house has backfired tremendously. The floor has become a sea of empty wrappers, frozen pizza boxes, and soda bottles. I fear I may never know a clean house again… or a pair of pants I can fit in.

I think lesson plans may be due today because it’s… Sunday? Thursday? April? To be honest I’ve lost track. Yesterday I’m pretty sure I finished Netflix… like… all of it. My husband is so desperate for any kind of sporting event, he’s now rooting for his favorite team while our son plays his NBA 2K video game.

It’s official, the quarantine has broken me. I actually miss waking up early and going to school. I miss not being able to pee for 6 hours, I miss not having a minute to myself and God help me I miss grading papers.

Congratulations universe… you win. 

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David Rode

Dave is a middle school math teacher. He's also a musician, a community theater, dad to two amazing children, and he doesn't get a lot of sleep.

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