Teaching from home with two young children: a roller coaster
On Tuesday 17 March secondary Dutch teacher Anne Logman suddenly found herself teaching DP students, while simultaneously teaching her two young boys from home. In the meantime her husband is trying to keep the RIVM website up and running. To say life has been interesting for Anne these past three weeks is bit of an understatement.
By Anne Logman, secondary Dutch Language and Literature teacher
When the Dutch government announced the “intelligent lockdown”, almost overnight the ISUtrecht teaching team started to teach remotely. Fortunately we had been preparing for this lockdown, so when the authorities made the announcement, we literally needed just one day to switch from offline to online teaching and learning.
My two boys, Ben (grade 5) and Max (grade 1) are in a Dutch primary school, where the same transition took place. Their school needed one extra day, but all in all I must say that in my experience both as a teacher and a parent schools adapted to the new situation quickly and professionally.
Teaching my classes and my children simultaneously
However, what I did not prepare for, nor couldn’t have prepared for, was teaching my own classes, while having Ben and Max doing their online work next to my at our living room table. Ben is fine; his school uses Google Classroom and Google Hangouts for grade 5 and since he is rather independent, we do not need to constantly monitor him. Max, however, is learning how to read and write this year and therefore needs much more attention and things explained to him.
Both my boys, have always been very interested in the fact that I am a teacher. They love coming to school with me and they demand to have only babysitters who are boys and my students (which bye the way, is a completely different story).
Bye, bye work-life balance!
The moment Ben and Max found out that I was teaching my classes in Microsoft Teams, they wanted to connect to my students too. They love chatting with them on Teams and are becoming experts at making fun of me. This of course to the great amusement of my students. And with that the last remaining barrier between work and my private life went out of the window. Especially my DP2’s found the fact that my children were present during lessons very funny: they sent me virtual slippers to virtually spank the boys.
You might wonder where my husband is in all this. He was detached by his company to the RIVM during the farmers’ protests last November, ensuring their website would survive the dramatic increase in visitors. Of course the corona crisis means that even more people want to take a look at the RIVM website. These days he is working (in the attic) making sure the RIVM website stays up and running. So far the RIVM website survived multiple hacker attacks. You can imagine he is rather busy.
My students are now completely used to Ben and Max chatting or needing something while I am teaching. I am slowly but surely getting better at splitting up my attention and I have not had to use the virtual slippers. Yet.