There is one thing that is certain. Life is uncertain. I trust all of my readers are staying safe and following your local guidelines in these trying times. One of the adjustments I had to make was to take on some new roles in our family. My wife works full time at Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo California, my daughter is a single mom and works full time as a merchandiser at Target (keeping the shelves stocked!) and I run a full-time consulting business, so when my grandson’s school was closed for the rest of the school year, I assumed another role. First Grade Teacher! I have to tell you, it was very difficult and stressful to start.
The elementary school where my grandson Parker attends first grade, quickly transitioned to Google Classroom. Every day his teacher uploads the assignments they would normally do in the classroom. Reading, spelling, math, writing, art, STEM class, and physical education (I like to make him do pushups when he doesn’t listen to “Papa”). Parker has his “classroom” at our kitchen table. I learned that I haven’t been taught the “new math.” We were working on math drills adding numbers and I taught him how to “carry.” He didn’t learn that in school. I’ve hear other older parents say the same thing. We can easily go outside for “field trips” to find interesting things for his class projects. In his STEM class, he made a rain gauge just before we had a big storm, so he could measure the rainfall each day! His teacher has weekly one-on-one Zoom sessions to check in.
The online classroom work takes about 5 hours to complete. No kidding! So my challenge was to manage my consulting and expert witness workload with being a first grade teacher. I struggled for the first week since I had a very big expert witness patent case getting ready for court (I testified “in court” using Zoom, more on that experience in a later post). I didn’t want Parker to fall behind in his school work but I had a lot of business work to complete. We finally got in a rhythm where I would get my grandson started, then he would say, “OK Papa, time for you to do your work” and we could work independently. We got into a regular schedule so we could both get our work done. I have a ton of respect for parents that work from home and now have kids in the house. I can’t imagine what it takes to manage work and two or three kids.
One of the little joys I didn’t anticipate was my grandson “photobombing” one of my GoToMeeting sessions. I was having one of my weekly online sessions with a consulting client in my home office and over my shoulder, Parker was doing a dance! So cute. Some of the attendees were also on the call from their homes with kids around, so they got a good laugh. Parker then came and sat on my lap and proceeded to introduce himself to all the folks in the session. I never saw that coming, but it was one of those unique moments that we will look back on with joy once the current situation is past.
Stay safe, stay at home, and for all those newly minted “first grade teachers” out there, have fun and enjoy the moment.