HOUSTON — If it wasn’t clear before, it’s likely very evident by now: teaching your kids at home is hard -- harder still during the coronavirus pandemic. Your children may have already told you that you’re not super great at it.
Some of us are not natural-born educators. But even the people who are will tell you that teaching kids remotely -- and then teaching their own children at home -- is not exactly what they signed up for.
“It is complete and utter chaos,” Michelle Bish, a mother of three, said. “Sometimes I’ll describe them as my circus. 'Come look at this circus.'"
Bish's three kids are 2-year-old Jacob, 6-year-old Macey and 10-year-old Emma.
“My oldest is a little more self-sufficient,” Bish said, “so ... during the day she gets on her iPad and she gets her schoolwork. Then my kindergartner, not so much. I have to sit next to her and I have to be on top of her and make sure that she is getting her work done.
“And then and then in the midst of all that I have with my 2-year-old (who) is constantly wanting my attention and/or he's fighting with his sisters."
Bish is a third-grade teacher at Morales Elementary in Pasadena, Texas.
“They’re so sweet, I just love them,” she said of her students. “I think third grade is my where I'm supposed to be.”
Since the school’s closure, Bish has been balancing being a mom and teacher to this rambunctious bunch and continuing to teach her third-graders as well as help the students’ parents navigate their kids' education.
“It's very overwhelming trying to attend to my own kids and then ... still wanting to give 100 percent to my third-graders,” she said.
Part of Bish’s job is to record lessons for her class and attend Zoom meetings, which she said are constantly interrupted by her children. Bish said she’s also choosing to always be available to her students' parents, because some of them work and can’t help their children during the regular working hours.
“I’ll tell my parents, 'Please text me. Text me whenever you need. I’m here for you,'" she said. "I love getting messages from them because I know that they’re still working with their kids at home."
Helping her third-graders is easy, Bish said. It’s teaching her own kids that’s a challenge.
“Now, all of a sudden, I'm a kindergarten teacher and a fifth-grade teacher, that is just like, whoa,” she said “And some days I think, 'How does my daughter's teacher do this? How did she do this all day?' I never signed up to teach kindergarten or fifth-grade. Oh, I can definitely feel for parents, that's for sure.”
Bish said she couldn’t wait to go back to her school.
“I cannot wait for this to be over,” she said. “This is not why I signed up to be a teacher. I wanted to be a teacher because I wanted to be present. Like, physically be in the presence of my students. You know, at school and being a part of them and teaching.”
Bish sympathizes with the parents who are not educators trying to help their kids learn.
“I understand how difficult this can be and how overwhelming it can be. And, you know, we're all just trying to do our best. Then we'll all get through it together,” she said.
The symptoms of coronavirus can be similar to the flu or a bad cold. Symptoms include a fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Some patients also have nausea, body aches, headaches and stomach issues. Losing your sense of taste and/or smell can also be an early warning sign.
Most healthy people will have mild symptoms. A study of more than 72,000 patients by the Centers for Disease Control in China showed 80 percent of the cases there were mild.
But infections can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death, according to the World Health Organization. Older people with underlying health conditions are most at risk for becoming seriously ill. However, U.S. experts are seeing a significant number of younger people being hospitalized, including some in ICU.
The CDC believes symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 14 days after being exposed.
Human coronaviruses are usually spread through...
- The air by coughing or sneezing
- Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
- Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands.
Help stop the spread of coronavirus
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Eat and sleep separately from your family members
- Use different utensils and dishes
- Cover your cough or sneeze with your arm, not your hand.
- If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash.
- Follow social distancing
Lower your risk
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- If you are 60 or over and have an underlying health condition such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or respiratory illnesses like asthma or COPD, the World Health Organization advises you to try to avoid crowds or places where you might interact with people who are sick.
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