Double Trouble: Teachers Managing Students and Children

Pictured+is+English+teacher+Samantha+Calarusse+with+her+youngest+son+and+two+pet+dogs.+

Samantha Calarusse

Pictured is English teacher Samantha Calarusse with her youngest son and two pet dogs.

Kara Peeler, Editor-In-Chief

Virtual learning means a lot of things: a little more time to sleep in, the temptation to lounge in bed all day, zoom calls galore, and so on. But what about the teachers who now have two sets of children to manage? 

Teachers with school-aged children are now expected to teach several periods worth of students, all the while having to parent and even guide their own children throughout the school day, a seemingly impossible task. 

I have two boys in school right now: seventh grade and kindergarten,” said English teacher Samantha Calarusse. “My older son is self-sufficient and doesn’t need much guidance during the school day. My youngest needs reminders throughout the day. I set an alarm for each class, so he doesn’t forget to log in.” 

This can be time-consuming. Teachers now have to balance the needs of their ongoing classes with their own families’ education. For Calarusse, this means spending her short breaks between classes helping her son submit schoolwork. Teachers are also known to have to ask their children to quiet down during teaching time or to send an older child to help their younger sibling. 

For others, virtual learning has meant a change of plans in childcare. This increased family time may have been an unforeseen obstacle, but it also brings the opportunity to bond and spend more time as a whole family. 

I had my second daughter at the end of February. I was hoping my three-year-old would have daycare so I could have some time with our newborn. Obviously, that didn’t happen,” said English teacher Christina Trumbull. “It was hard at times, but it was also time with my family I got to have that I didn’t anticipate.” 

On occasion, children pop into the background of high school zoom classes. Kids are kids; sometimes they need support with their schooling at the same time a teacher is leading their first-period class. High school students are typically unbothered by such incidents and understand that teachers have their own families too. Judging a teacher’s ten-year-old child is the least of their worries. Sometimes, high school students can even help out younger kids; who knew that remembering the flag of Guatemala would come in handy in a math course. 

“For me, seeing their kids on zoom calls can be nice, as we get a better insight into them as a person rather than a teacher, but also because their children can make class more funny,” said senior Debanshi Chowdhury. 

Moreover, such experiences help bridge the gap between students and teachers, which is much needed when they have only met through a screen. Gaining a new perspective on a teacher by meeting their children used to be a treat limited to Take Your Child to Work Day, where adorable kids could be seen roaming the halls with their parents. 

“Seeing our teachers out of their school environment makes me realize that we all have so much in common,” said Chowdhury. “While in school, we have to build this professional relationship with our teachers, [but] through this virtual learning … it helps us to build a more personal and comfortable relation with our teachers.” 

Amid a global pandemic, there are a plethora of adaptations everyone is forced to make. It is a new era for all, but teachers are among the people hit the hardest by these adjustments. 

“I’m sure it must be more complicated for teachers to not only have to take care of their families and teach in classrooms, so I thank them all for their hard work and dedication,” said Chowdhury. 

However, teachers remain resilient as ever. They care for two sets of children at once, as if one weren’t a full plate already. This fine balance is an impressive feat. 

It’s a good thing teachers are rock stars at being flexible and making pretty much anything work. This year has been a real testament to that,” said Trumbull.