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Yesterday went pretty much as planned, until it didn’t. With everyone in the house doing different things we didn’t realize that our dog had been throwing up most of the day and each person had been cleaning it up individually. Putting it all together we realized she had eaten some grapes that morning and they are toxic to dogs. After connecting with the vet and getting her some activated charcoal it seems disaster was averted. The kids got their work completed, but as I reviewed work, prepared meals, took care of household stuff and averted the dog crisis, I didn’t manage to get any of my work completed.

So, what does a day look like when you are cocooning and distance learning and working.  We’ve committed to getting up in the morning at pretty much our usual time and starting our day.  We get dressed, take care of the animals, eat breakfast and then go off to our work places.  My husband works in the office, and kids in their room.  I work pretty much at the kitchen table.  At lunch we regroup.  It’s funny because the kids usually eat at 11:30 and I normally don’t eat until around 1.  We’re adjusting and hoping to incorporate lunch doodles with Mo.  Then there is usually an outside break and back to finishing up work and school.  We all seem to regroup for dinner.  We’ve been making it together, checking in on our day over dinner and then cleaning up.  Evenings have been either family time, electronics or last night some art projects.  Not bad but I can see the distance from friends starting to hit all of us.  We are going to be looking for ways to connect.

Today I decided to take a first step in that direction. I started my day by sending a personal thank you note to each of my kids’ teachers. I started with a general note that looked something like this but then customized it with information about what they were learning in that class and what I appreciated about them as a teacher:

Thank you for all you work in helping the distance learning program work and supporting our kids. As an educator myself, I have been working with teachers all over the country who are diving into this work. For many it is uncharted waters. I’m grateful for this opportunity for my students to continue to interact with their teachers and to have a normal day despite the chaos around us.

I just wanted to let you know how much your work with our students is truly appreciated! We support you 100% as parents and have set up a regular schedule and check-in with XXX to ensure he makes the most of this opportunity. If there is any support you need as a teacher please reach out. I have a doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction and experience with distance learning.

I want to encourage everyone to thank a teacher.   I am on a facebook group right now called Teaching During COVID-19.  Please know these teachers are loving and dedicated.  They are crying because they don’t know if they will see “their kids” again this year.  They are worried that “their kids” are going home to situations that may be unsafe or challenging.  They are worried about their own families and they are worried about yours.  They are trying to teach in a way that is completely foreign to them and to their students.  They don’t know how to do this any better than the rest of us.  But you know what else?  They are rising up.  They are sharing resources and helping each other.  Educators around the world are sharing their expertise and stepping up. Like one of my favorites, John Spencer who spent the weekend putting together these resources for educators.  I’m working myself on getting some of my book content into bite size bits that can provide teachers with the help they need for themselves and for being able to take on the monumental task ahead of them.  Nurses and doctors are on the front lines, but teachers are the ones who are going to need to help us kiss the wounds and make them better.  Teachers will love our families and our kids through this.  They are going to be hit hard with demands to do this or that.  But for once, let’s listen to them.  They may not know how to put everything on-line but they know how to build connection, love and teach our kids.  They know the kids don’t need to be assessed on a long list of standards or filled with busy work.  They know kids more than any other time in our history need to be resilient, creative, critical thinkers. They know how to do this.  Give them the support they need to do what they do best, teach.

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