Quarantined and Teaching from Home

Quarantined and Teaching from Home

by Stephanie Best

Typically, those closest to me would describe me as adventurous, spontaneous, adaptable, and tenacious. However, the past few years (and particularly the past few months in quarantine) have deeply humbled me to realize my limits. I have somehow found myself going from fearlessly backpacking foreign countries solo to ordering groceries online because I am hesitant to even go to the grocery store. The sudden change has been deeply unsettling. 

Suddenly, I have gone from constantly being surrounded by students and friends, to teaching online and being quarantined alone. I have never been one to spend much time at home. I would much rather go to the gym or study from a coffee shop than work from home. However, I have had to figure out how to make things work from home. Even as things start to slowly open up, I am trying to only be in physical proximity with the few people that I have seen since the lockdown began. Still, I have found it important to keep connections. 

teaching from home

Finding Sanity Mid-Quarantine

Here are a few of the things that have helped me keep relatively sane during this unprecedented time: 

  1. Video chat: As often as possible, I have tried to be in contact with friends and family via Facetime or other video chat sources. Although maintaining physical distancing has been difficult, this makes it a little easier to feel a sense of connectedness. 
  2. Workout from home: I used to go to the gym most days, but now I have been working out from home. Although it’s much harder to find a routine that works, I have found that having an app or video to follow has been helpful in working out more efficiently than if I just worked out without guidance.
  3. Find a good book or show to watch: I have never been one for TV, but being in quarantine, it has been nice to find something to occupy my mind when things get too quiet. I’ve also enjoyed catching up on reading.
  4. Routine: I’m not best at this, but it’s definitely helpful. Waking up early and making a to-do list has certainly made my days more bearable. 

As soon as quarantine is over, I will be the first to be planning my next adventure. However, until then, I am trying to make the most out of a difficult situation. Perhaps when the dust settles, we will have a newfound appreciation for things that were once taken for granted. 

Teaching from Home

For many students, teachers, and parents, the move to online instruction has been a challenge. Although I have been using instructional technology in my practice from the beginning of my teaching career, the sudden change has been difficult for students and teachers alike. Even before the outbreak, I was already using Blackboard to supplement in-person instruction. However, I had to quickly adapt my courses to be entirely online. It looks as though instruction will continue this way through at least the summer semester and potentially into the fall. Here’s some advice for teachers, students, and parents alike during this time:

Teachers:

  1. Be Empathetic: Regardless of what age/subject you are teaching from home, all of our students are going through rough times. Perhaps your students have new roles and responsibilities or are otherwise struggling. They may not have access to proper technology or wi-fi. They may be experiencing financial struggles, or health issues. Accept late work, and ask your students how they’re doing — how they’re really doing. Be flexible in getting them through the semester.
  2. Collaborate: My experience has been that teachers are good at sharing and working together. Share with your colleagues. We’re all better when we work together. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel. 
  3. Be Flexible: Pencil in plans, but don’t be too attached to anything. Things are changing constantly, and adaptability and flexibility are key.

Parents (K-12):

  1. Try to create space at home dedicated to virtual learning. Students focus better if they’re not near their TV, video games, toys, bed, etc. You don’t need to have a separate room. A learning station at the kitchen table can work.
  2. Communicate with your child about their work, but don’t be too involved. This may be a hard line to draw and is an exercise in balancing needs and support. The bottom line is that it does children no favors to do things or assignments for them that they’re able to do it themselves. While it can be helpful to talk through homework, do not do it for them. 
  3. Encourage your children to complete their assignments, but don’t stress them out unnecessarily. Mental and physical health must take priority at this point. We’re all living in unprecedented and highly stressful times. 

woman and girl using ipad

Students:

  1. Make a list each day of the things that must get done. Cross them off as you complete them. It will help you to stay organized and feel a sense of accomplishment. 
  2. Communicate openly with your teachers. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Your teachers are learning as they’re going along much as you, and most teachers take student feedback into consideration.
  3. Pay attention to all instructions. Don’t just skip to the end to try to get through quicker. Listen to the instruction on your modules or the Zoom/Blackboard Collaborate lecture. Most likely, the answers to your questions are there.

kids learning on computers

Quarantined and Teaching from Home

It will be interesting to see how this situation changes education. Perhaps this time will allow us to hone effective use of instructional technology and continue to effectively incorporate it when we are able to return to in-person instruction. 

20 thoughts on “Quarantined and Teaching from Home

  1. Doing home workouts also helps me with my sanity lol! I think i will be safer to teach online until they discover a corona virus vaccine

  2. I completely agree with making a routine and sticking to it. Plus I find I get so much more done during the day. I need to work on, working out more at home. I played basketball a lot pre-covid, and can’t wait for that to return. I also do regular video chats, so that keeps me connected to others.

  3. My brother is an English teacher so I found this post quite interesting to think about his working life, as he also teaches from home for the time being. It is truly a different world at the moment and all of us have to do what we can to adapt successfully and not get too stressed about things that we can not change in the short term. Hopefully things will return to some sort of normal before too long.

  4. This has been incredibly hard because there was no opportunity to plan. Life was turned upside down almost instantly. I hoe things get better very soon.

  5. Being quarantine at home has give us the opportunity home school and to experience that facet of education. I think that it is kind of nice to home school.

  6. It’s interesting how everything has changed with the quarantine. These tips are very useful, arranging video calls and not forgetting workouts are all great tips to keep sane. Having routine also helps, I definitely agree.

  7. I agree with you about having a routine set at home and doing some fun activities to keep us sane haha! My mother is a teacher and its interesting to see how she finds teaching on the computer so very different. But I suppose this would be our new ‘normal’ till the pandemic gets over.

  8. i remember doing an online class when i was in college in maybe 2006? I think the best tip you gave was to reach out to the teachers and look at the blackboard where you’ll likely find answers.

  9. these seems like a great guide. This lockdown has taught many of us to be flexible and support one and another.

  10. This is such a great guide! I’m wondering if my kids will be able to start preschool in the fall, so many unknowns right now!

  11. So many parents have learned how challenging it is to home school but many are embracing it too. It’s the one time that I am glad to be the mom of a teen LOL

  12. Every time I visit your blog, I learn something new and this is no exception. This time teaching at home. I can’t wait to read more!

  13. I think it’s definitely been a balance of routine and allowing room for error. This has been hard!

  14. Thanks for sharing your WFH experience and tips. My boyfriend’s kids are all homeschooled for now, plus us working at home. We also have routine every school breaks (but I admit our kitchen is the busiest part of the house!).

  15. Homeschooling has defintiely given me a new appreciation for what teachers do for our kids. I’ve always known that teachers do great work, but having to teach my own kids has definitely made me appreciate them even more.

  16. It’s really difficult shifting to online learning. It really changed the educational system worldwide. It takes creativity and courage to design an effective way to teach.

  17. I embraced on being in quarantine. I have a lot of opportunity to spend my time with my family. and I really appreciated with all the teachers, they will do anything to teach their students in times of this pandemic.

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