Juggling Parenting and Working From Home During a Pandemic
By ETM Marketing and Communications Associate Jennifer Williams
Being a parent comes with its own unique set of challenges.
And so does being a working parent.
When stay-at-home orders were implemented across the country back in March, many parents were faced with the new challenge of working from home, rather than at their office. At the same time, kids suddenly had to learn at home, rather than at their school. For parents and their children alike, maintaining the balance of jobs, schooling, and being a family has been a trial-and-error experience.
For Education Through Music teacher Sheryl Levine, who is also the mother of four, finding a system has been an important key to her family’s success during this pandemic.
At the start of distance learning, Sheryl’s husband Justin was home to help her care for their four children, setting them up in their online classrooms, while Sheryl was able to plan and record music lessons for her students. Everyone in her household was able to maintain their own schedules and get their work done.
But, that all changed when Justin returned to work. Back to the drawing board!
Sheryl shared her new system: “Each morning I set my children up with their school work before I start mine. With the exception of my youngest daughter, the kids work as much as they can in the classroom on their own and every hour I leave my makeshift office to help them with any questions that have accumulated over the past hour. For my youngest daughter, she is very good at creative play and can keep herself busy. Her “office” is in my “office.” Here she learns, and colors, and paints and watches the fabulous videos that her teachers send to her while I teach and prepare lessons and videos.” Sheryl adds, “We have quite a good system going!”
While that system can look different for each family, Sheryl has tried to focus on the positive aspects of distance learning as well.
For her, bringing her entire family into her music class has been a welcome experience sharing, “It has been wonderful to introduce my students to my own kids through the videos that I have made for them. My kids have been extremely helpful with background vocals for class songs, and making live appearances to make our live classes more fun and exciting..”
Don’t worry, her husband has also been getting into the act as her “technological savior!” Justin has helped her with video editing, solving computer software issues, and troubleshooting any other technical problems she may be having.
BONUS! As a software developer, he has been able to develop unique apps to help make Sheryl assess her students needs from afar.
Sheryl has experience thinking outside the box when it comes to teaching under unique experiences: she taught in Nepal for ten years!
Sheryl said, “Eastern music is far different in structure than Western style music, so in order to connect ideas from what my students already knew to bring them to an understanding of new concepts, I sometimes had to connect the dots in different ways than I would have while teaching a student who had grown up in a culture accustomed to Western style music.”
ETM Instructional Supervisor Grace Lazos shared, “Sheryl is a creative and dedicated educator who has a seemingly endless supply of ideas and resources to engage her students with music. She has deeply involved herself in her school community, and has continued to do so since beginning distance learning by collaborating with her colleagues to provide not only asynchronous [or, on demand] lessons, but live instruction time for students as well.”
See, we told you she was a supermom!