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Surviving Virtual Learning:
Tips for Parents from an Assistant Principal

Virtual learning is a new concept for all of us.  Whether you’re juggling multiple kids learning from home, your own career while helping your kids learn virtually, or being an educator and a parent, we’re all simply doing our best right now.  Unfortunately, there isn’t a playbook on how to navigate these times, but maybe it helps to know we’re all on the same team.

Assistant Principal and Teacher Development Coach, Erinn Cottman, joined us last week to offer some incredibly helpful advice on how to thrive, rather than simply survive virtual learning.

Here are her tips:

1. Give yourself and the teachers grace. Both teachers and parents are feeling a tremendous amount of pressure to get this right – we are all on the same team.

2. Get all the info you need! Get what you need from the teacher to support the learning happening; you are partnering with the teacher.

3. Get to know your Teacher!  Be proactive. By doing that, you’re getting ahead of potential problems and miscommunication.  Don’t get so wrapped up in the technical side of things that you forget about the human side of things.

4. Find a dedicated workspace/learning space for your child – give your child a home “office” – quiet & distraction-free. Let them decorate it, just like you would your office.

5. Have a good attitude! Kids are sponges, be mindful of the words and energy you’re putting into their space.  The more positive you are, the more positive they’ll be.

6. Familiarize yourself with the apps! You should be familiar with the learning systems. Bookmark the pages for your child & make sure it’s easy for them to access what you need.  Know how to troubleshoot!

7. Keep to a routine. Routines and structures help your child focus and understand the schedule.

8. Have a clear transition from School time to Family time. It helps both you and the kids to have a clear understanding of when to transition into family time. Kids need to know which hours you are a teaching assistant and which hours you are just mom.

9. Use your village!! Your spouse, your friend, or co-parent, your family member. Enlist help when you need it, just ask.

10. Communicate with your Boss!  You must be transparent about your child’s schedule. It helps create an understanding and ensure you’re getting your own work done on time.

11. Communicate with School Teachers and Leaders – Let them know your work schedule and discuss how you can work together to make this as seamless as possible for both parties.

12. Establish clear boundaries! This goes for both working parents and educators. Example: after 6:00 pm I am going to be unavailable for work, but I will get back to you first thing in the morning.

The bottom line is – this is a learning curve for all of us, and it’s okay to have good days and bad days.  It’s also okay to take a day off from school every once in a while, let your child get out of the house and explore a new place.  Remember, you and the teacher are partners, neither of you are going to let your child fail.