My Family Saw Me in Teacher Mode for the First Time. Here’s How It Went.

My Family Saw Me in Teacher Mode for the First Time. Here's How It Went.

I just wrapped up my last virtual lesson for the week and hobbled out of my home office. I’m 31 weeks pregnant with a super sore booty, mumbling something about coffee. My husband says, “That was awesome!” I had no idea he had overhead most of my lesson. This includes an animated back-and-forth mock interview with my high school journalism students. I’m sure he had no clue what we were talking about. And I didn’t realize the energy had transferred into other rooms of the house. This was just one of many instances in the last year of pandemic teaching that my family really came to understand what it takes to be a teacher.

When we originally went to virtual learning exactly a year ago, I worried, missed sleep, and obsessed over how the heck I was going to teach my students with three young boys running around “learning” themselves. It turns out, through the course of the year, the silver lining was my family coming to truly see and appreciate what I do for a living. They had no idea what teaching teenagers meant, until they’d strut into the office, talking about their poop or gummy worms or a toy they want, only to realize a virtual room full of teens were staring back at them.

“Mommy, why are those kids so big?” “Mommy, why are you a teacher?” These conversations would have never taken place if they were at their schools, and me at my own, like a typical year.

My extended family started to get it as well. I’d pick up one of my toddlers on my lunch break, and chat with my mom for a minute who helps with childcare. She’d undoubtedly ask, “Done for the day?” and I’d laugh, explaining how many more classes I still had to teach. “What?! Aren’t you tired?” she’d say. Well, yes, yes I am. The endurance required to stay excited, available, and engaged with students for the full length of the day became quickly apparent to my family.

It takes energy to teach virtually. It takes more patience as students, a year into the pandemic, still search for the mute button. Pandemic teaching takes more personality, creativity, and innovation than most of us have energy for, but somehow we make it happen.

My high schooler started utilizing a group chat that had really only been for time-sensitive matters in the past. That means at all hours of the day and night, my phone will “bing” and a student will be collaborating with another, or asking me a question. While I don’t always answer it in that moment (cause, boundaries) my relatives have realized just what a round-the-clock job teaching can be.

My students are over-achieving student journalists who are passionate about their projects. My husband affectionately nicknamed them “the nerds” during the pandemic. He’d bring me my phone, saying “The nerds need you,” after hearing multiple bings. He’d click it off for me at 10 PM and yell at my phone “Go to bed nerds!” He saw the dedication I had in answering them promptly, and complimented it which meant more than I thought it would.

I never realized what a separation I had from my work and home lives until they merged.  And now, when/if we go back to “normal” my family will truly know and understand some of what I do as a teacher.

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My Family Saw Me in Teacher Mode for the First Time. Here's How It Went.

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Alexandra Frost

Alexandra Frost is a freelance journalist and high school publications teacher in Cincinnati, OH. She's worked with other publications such as Glamour, Women's Health, Reader's Digest, and more. She has three young sons under age four and has been teaching high school for ten years. She encourages her students to develop communication skills, independence, and a passion for writing in their authentic writers' voices. To connect or read more of her work please her website or follow her on social media: Twitter Instagram Linked In.

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