November 10, 2020
November 8th is National Parents as Teachers Day and observing it in 2020 is unlike any other year. COVID-19 has caused unprecedented changes in the impact that parents have on their child’s education, from pre-school to high school. Parents as Teachers Day is meant to bring awareness to the important relationship between teachers and parents and encourage their collaboration to support children in their educational goals. Depending on where you are for the school year, you may have children who are receiving their education in a physical, virtual, or a hybrid program. This change is making communication and support between teachers, parents, and children even more critical than in previous years.
At least 20 million students had to quickly adapt to new ways of learning, separated from their social support of school friends, and manage the distractions that come with virtual learning at home. On the other hand, parents had to be more than just supportive of their kids in school, becoming co-educators, and undertaking a larger role in their existing partnership with teachers. Parents have shared that they are now going through the 3rd grade all over again and wondering how in the world they can quickly learn calculus to help their high schooler. Teachers are struggling with keeping their students engaged, teaching new concepts virtually, and how to balance safety in the classroom and adapt their lesson plan to virtual platforms. There have been days of crying, whining, procrastination, and exasperation – and not just from the kids!
A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that rates of depression have been over three (3) times higher during the COVID-19 pandemic and in another study, researchers found that school-aged children feel fearful and isolated1. This isolation and fear have caused a decrease in sleep and appetite and an increase in agitation and inattention. Parents, teachers, and children alike are taking on more responsibility, stress, and pressure. Because of this, ensuring there is a healthy balance of work, health, and life are not just important, they are essential2.
Tahirah Wheeler, Functional Associate at NetImpact Strategies knows all too well about this delicate balance. She tirelessly works to help NCI reach their goals and is dedicated to leading her team to excellence. Tahirah also has a young daughter who is at an age where she is still learning about the world around her and is always asking her mom questions! In the spirit of Parents as Teachers, Tahirah found ways to keep her daughter engaged and learning by integrating education into everyday life for her preschooler with online lessons, nature walks around her neighborhood, documentaries on Netflix, and scavenger hunts. Tahirah shared that, “2020 has been a year like no other, but we are creating new memories and will make the best of it.” This year has taught us that despite the many challenges this year continues to bring, the moments we spend with our children creating new memories and providing them with new opportunities to learn and grow outweigh many of the daily hardships parents have learned to overcome.
To ease the burden of balancing this duality in a pandemic, NetImpact has made it a priority to extend the resources available for all employees. NetImpact Strategies created a Teams Channel dedicated to families for employees to share thoughts, ideas, and encouragement. NetImpact provides flexible work schedules, which allows families to create a work/life balance that allows them to focus on their family while staying productive with work. The firm offers a robust Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that employees can use to get free mental health counseling, discounts on gym memberships, virtual fitness classes, and online resources for parents and distance learners to help with their education. Parents are encouraged to use this program to ensure they prioritize their wellness while juggling their work/life balance.
National Parents as Teachers Day brings an awareness that parents and teachers need to support one another, especially as we adapt and make it through challenges until the world gets to the “new normal”.
NetImpact extends a heartfelt thank you to all of the parents that have now added “Part-Time Teacher” to their resumes as they invest in the workforce of tomorrow.