Habit #3: Rolling with the punches (with grace and flexibility)
We’re back again with our series on the 5 Habits of Highly-Effective Co-Teachers.
In our previous posts, Habit 1: Stewarding your time well, and Habit #2: Taking time to prepare to teach, we talked about how to use time to your advantage during this season.
Today, we’ll switch gears a bit and talk about how learning together at home can be a blessing, but can also require you to operate with more grace and flexibility, both with yourself and with others. These concepts might be new to you, or you might be a pro by now. Either way, this season can only be enhanced with heaping helpings of both grace and flexibility, and we’ll look today at how those mindsets can help your days and weeks (hopefully) go by more smoothly.
If you’re entering into this season from a full-time schooling model, welcome to the wonderful world of co-teaching, which is essentially schooling at home and having a professional classroom teacher as your partner. And guess what – you’re both likely new to these roles! So this is a great opportunity for everyone to roll with the punches…because there will be punches (but hopefully not too many).
In this season of homeschooling, what might “the punches” look like? It could be missing a Zoom meeting with your classroom teacher, or having to teach a subject area that you never mastered when you were a student. Maybe you got an important phone call from work at the same moment that your kiddo was having a “lightbulb moment” in an area of struggle. Someone could simply just not want to do school on any given day.
Responding to situations like this with grace in this season means taking those punches on the chin with no excuses or residual feelings of guilt. Some days it means hitting the reset button (repeatedly!?), or just simply laughing in the face of failure or unmet expectations.
And about that flexibility? We’re all getting better at that by the day, as we adapt to this changing reality of life in the time of social distancing and quarantine. Try adapting your routines to align with your children’s study habits (do you have an early riser or a night owl?). It could be that sending someone for a run around the block before tackling a tough subject allows for them to have more focus when they sit down to do their work. Remember: it’s your homeschool. You get to decide how it is structured and what makes the most sense for your family. What works best this week might not work next week. Flex and adapt as the situations, attitudes, and resources change.
Both grace and flexibility allow you not to sweat the small stuff. And who are the recipients of all of this grace and flexibility?
- You! We can’t say it enough – you are new at this. No one masters a new skill without lots (and lots!) of practice. Your goal during this season is not to become the best homeschool teacher that ever was. Your goal is not to have your student ace every assessment. Nor is your goal that your days would go as perfectly as planned. The simple goal of loving your family well is more than enough.
Like we said in Habit #1, there will be days that everything doesn’t get done. Show yourself grace. There will be days when bad attitudes abound (maybe even yours). Show grace and hit the reset button.
- Your classroom teacher (if you have one): Remember, if you’re partnering with a classroom teacher, they are also new at this. Giving them the gift of grace and flexing with them as they learn this new terrain will do wonders during this season.
- Your student. Kids are notoriously resilient if given the opportunity. However, odds are that this is a huge change for them. Dealing with the multitude of cancellations, the lack of time with their friends, and learning to see you in a new light (teacher!) is a lot to ask of them.
We like to tell our new co-teachers that some days will be absolutely amazing in this role. Some days will feel like a complete nightmare. Most days will be somewhere in between.
Revel in those great days and soak them in. Reflect on those difficult days and use them to change things for the next time around. And for everything else? Just remember that you’re not alone in this journey!
Tomorrow we’ll talk about how tweaking your patterns of communication can help everyone stay aligned while learning at home.