Note to readers: The post and email series below were created in March, 2020. This was a few weeks into the sudden school shutdowns created by the Coronavirus pandemic. A little over two years later, I took another look to see I could revise the series, and make it relevant to parents under less extreme circumstances. My conclusion?
There are certainly nuggets in here that would be helpful to parents. Maybe parents hoping to better understand the minds of teachers, or be better teachers to their own children, or suddenly managing their children’s education for other reasons.
But reading this series again mostly just brought back memories of how crazy those first months of the pandemic were, how much of a shock to parents’ systems, how unlike anything most of us had ever experienced. I hope these emails were helpful to people who subscribed at the time—reading them over, it feels like this was the contribution that I was most qualified to make. They were also some of the last pieces of writing I was able to pump out before the demands of pandemic parenting forced me to take a break.
As of this moment, the email series is still live and pretty much untouched since 2022. I hope it won’t become relevant again in the way it was when I created it. I also hope to write some material that is geared toward parents in “normal” times. But, in the meantime, if you have any reason to subscribe to an email series like this, please feel free.
AND NOW, ONTO THE ORIGINAL POST FROM MARCH, 2020:
Like many people, I’ve been wondering whether there’s any version of my “old normal” skills and experiences that might be remotely (in all senses of the word) helpful to others in our collective new normal. Among many other things, the Corona-crisis means parents of school-aged kids, myself included, are suddenly in charge of our kids’ education full time.
Fortunately for me, my “old normal” skills and experiences include over a decade of coaching teachers through the difficult arc of their first year on the job. In addition to having written two teaching-related books, I’m the proud creator of the New Teacher Disillusionment Power Pack, a free email series that has helped thousands of teachers through the most difficult phase of their rookie year. (The series was featured in an NPR story tellingly entitled Hey, New Teachers, It’s Okay to Cry in Your Car.) Each year, a new wave of rookies reaches out to say the series has kept them sane and in the classroom.
Except now, nobody is in a classroom.
In some ways, educating my kids at home feels like being a first-year teacher again: I’m learning lessons the hard way, with kids watching, as to-do-list items stack up around me in an unwinnable game of Tetris. In other ways, this feels like one tiny corner of the coronavirus crisis where my experience offers an edge and might even allow me to be useful to others. Years of working with new teachers has put me in a position to answer questions for parents who are now, unexpectedly, rookie teachers in their own homes.
With that in mind, I sifted through the advice I’ve long provided to new teachers and created a one-week email series with the most important and sanity-saving material I can gather for parents homeschooling their kids in the age of COVID-19. There are no specific lesson plans — just a few tips on the basics every teacher learns in training and the lessons they learn the hard way in the first year on the job. If you’d like to receive the series from the beginning, sign up using the form below.