We’ve got our first, two-timer back on the show! In this episode, we welcome Claudia Schwarz who is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), back to the podcast to chat about how to handle the stresses involved in transitioning back to in-person school, the importance of open, honest communication with your kids, ways we can support teachers during this time, and more!
Tune in to hear more from Claudia and see below for a full list of topics covered.
To listen to her first episode with Learning Reimagined,
Key Topics Covered in This Episode:
- How students/parents are handling stress in light of the return to in-person schooling
- The importance of not being a “helicopter parent”
- Why some parents are choosing to keep their students at home and how to make the best choice for their own wellbeing and learning
- Letting your kids make mistakes and showing them how to learn from it
- The importance of opening the door for honest communication between you and your kids
- Supporting your family through the anxiety caused by the pandemic and why you should seek support too
- How we can support our teachers during this time
- Overcoming the struggles of the transition from Zoom to in-person in regards to socializing, learning, etc.
- The challenges created for students and teachers when parents refuse for their child to comply with mandates such as masks
- How to “set the standard” for your kids
Connect with the hosts:
[00:00:00] Hello and welcome to Learning Reimagined. I’m Allison and with me is Sandy. And this week we have invited back our first two timer and we are delighted to share with you a conversation with Claudia Schwarz.
And if you remember, Claudia, I believe was. Five or four or five with Learning Reimagined podcast. And Claudia is a licensed marriage and family counselor with, she’s currently the director of Clinical Outreach with Jay Flowers Health Institute out of Houston. And Claudia, we are just, we are thrilled to have you back today.
Welcome. Thank you. Thank you so much for having me back. I’m honored and I had so much fun being on the program last time, so thank you. Thank you, . Yeah, and just to remind our listeners when Claudia was on with us back in April, we really discussed a lot of dealing with the pandemic and our kids being stuck at home, our kids being isolated.
And that was a big a focus for our conversation. Now, [00:01:00] six months later, We really wanna talk to Claudia about the reemergence of school and getting our kids back into the classroom and how, how is everybody doing? You know, that, that, that seems to be a common stressor for all of our families, all of our teacher friends, all of our parents.
Just that the stress of being back at school on different levels of stress. Claudia, we’re really excited to have you back and very eager to, to just really hear your feedback on and some suggestions and, and tidbits on what we can do at home and in the classroom to help with the transitions. So thank you for being on.
Thank you for having me. . So what, what have you noticed? You know, here we are in the beginning of fall. So. The pandemic isn’t over necessarily. And I, we talked back in April about the second wave of the pandemic and it’s this emotional stress of, of [00:02:00] recovery not just the physical recovery, but just the emotional recovery of getting back.
Being social again. What are some things that you are seeing in your clinic and with some of your clients? Well, there are a lot of stressors with coming back. You know, I think that you can liken it maybe to, you have a kindergartner, right, who’s starting kindergarten for the first time. It’s brand new.
There’s all this structure, they’re not used to new faces, new, new challenges. That’s like your very first foray into. You know, something really significantly different from being in school and all the students who are back in school and teachers alike are going through that same thing right now because they haven’t been in so long.
It looks very different and it just feels different. They’ve had a, a complete disruption of how they just go through their day and what school looks like, all of that, and school. The feedback that I’ve been getting right now is that school feels harder for a lot of students going back and, [00:03:00] and part of that may be that maybe you know, teachers knew that going online was gonna be very difficult for students who were used to in person.
So they really tried to advocate for, you know, not making it so difficult when already that online format was challenging for people. But now that you’re back in person and we’re back to, Okay, this is how it’s supposed to be. A lot of kids have had a year and a half of Very different. So even the learning doesn’t look the same as it did when they were in school before.
So even if you’re a high school sophomore or junior or senior, and you think you know this, you really don’t. So that’s really been a struggle too, of, of trying to figure out where’s the balance from the teacher’s perspective because they, you know, they’re teaching too. And, and they’ve also had this online format all this time.
Which has been difficult and some of those teachers are still doing hybrid because many students have not gone back in person. So boy, you’ve got the gamut of what’s going on and it’s just not easy on anybody. And I think, you know, for when we’re talking about parents with students who are in this position, [00:04:00] I can’t stress enough that structure has to be there, and the structure doesn’t just mean you have to have rules and you have to, you know, have a routine where everything is said at the exact same time.
It just means that the way you do life has to be structured too. So, you know. Breakfast need, you know, we’ve gotta eat breakfast in the morning, so we’ve gotta get started on our day. It doesn’t always have to be at 7:00 AM but you’ve gotta be able to have that and be able to count on that and what does that look like?
And then when they’re at school, they’ve gotta have their lunch, you’ve gotta have a dinner at night and it’s gotta be structured out that way. But then the homework time, what does that look like? Parents have. I think they’ve become more helicopter parents in some of these instances because it’s been hard enough for them to, you know, reign their kids in when they’re at home to do their homework.
And if they’ve had to be on ’em and on ’em and on them, even if they hadn’t done that before, they still wanna continue that at school. So they’re exhausting teachers by constantly, you know, jumping in, Hey, is my student doing this? Or What should I be doing? And , it’s just, [00:05:00] it’s become a little bit of a circus right now, cuz we’re all.
Sort of learning, you know, how do we move forward from here? So it’s not an easy thing. Yes. And, and also you, you alluded to this a little bit ago, where some districts aren’t providing. The online opportunities, so parents are opting to keep these students at home? They are. That is a great challenge because not only are we navigating the 18 months of not having structured schooling, so they’re behind oftentimes the majority of these students.
But now how do we transition into this? How do we, It is hard. And you know, parents are doing that for different reasons. Some of them are, are concerned, you know, they’re concerned that their kids you know, may get covid because especially the younger ones who can’t get vaccinated yet. So there’s some concerns there, or schools that are mandating, like here in LA County, it’s now mandated students.
Have [00:06:00] to be vaccinated to be able to attend school. So then parents are opting out of that because maybe they’re afraid of the vaccine. You know, there’s a lot of different reasons and there’s no judgment there whatsoever. But we do have to find a way to make sure our kids are getting a good education no matter what decision we are making for them.
And you know, for parents, whatever decision you make, you’ve gotta be able to figure out what is going to. Help them the most and what’s gonna help support them the most in whatever your decision is. Because the kids don’t have the decision. I mean, the parents do, obviously , especially now during Covid, right?
It was taken away from them. But now parents, it’s in parents’ hands. They are making the decisions. So if you’re choosing to keep your student at home then you have to figure out a way that is going to benefit them most and whatever that support looks like, so that they can have that at home so that you’re not tearing your hair out and they’re also getting the education that they deserve.
So that can be tricky, but also if your kids are at school and you’ve made that decision, okay, you know what? They’re going to [00:07:00] school, they’re gonna be masked up, I think they’ll be safe. You know? Or I got my kid vaccinated, whatever that looks like. That’s only the first part of it. The second part of it is what if your kid is scared?
What if they also are really struggling with just trying to get back into school? How do you help them get through that so that they can excel eventually? And I think patience is one. It’s not gonna happen all. And patience is really hard to come by right now. Everybody is. I mean, just listening to you talking about what’s going on in the world, I feel my anxiety rising, thinking about these parents and the trying to do it all.
You know, there’s so much. Yeah. And add to it their, their job as well as being a parent and it just, There, there’s not a lot of patience in the world right now, . There’s not. There’s not. And, and I understand that I’m a parent as well, and it, and it’s hard. I have a lot of anxiety over my kids and what’s going to happen and you know, helping them, trying to support them, but also letting them have some independence to make some [00:08:00] decisions for themselves.
And I think that’s key too. Just because Covid happened doesn’t mean our kids are helpless. It doesn’t mean that they’re not intelligent. It’s not. Doesn’t mean they can’t make some decisions for themselves. So parents do have to try to give them some leeway to maybe fall and make some mistakes, cuz that’s okay.
That’s what being a kid is all about. I mean, as adults we’re still making some mistakes. , you know, when you’re younger that that’s how you learn. If everything is laid out in front of you all the time and you are constantly have everything done for you, or the path that’s just paved for you the whole way, how will you know what to hap, what, what you need to do if you do stumble and fall?
So I think it’s important you have to start off with. Giving their kids the tools to go do things on their own, and then you jump in when they fall in or when they’re ready to fall, not just trying to prevent the fall all the time. I hope that makes sense. It, It really does. It really does, and it actually brings me back.
It’s a little bit not [00:09:00] having to do with Covid necessarily, but honorary honoring the, There are few points of our young adults like over. Summer, we all witnessed Simon Biles with the gymnastics, an incredible elite athlete, mentally, physically ready we thought. And then she made this important decision where she was a role model to so many.
Adults alike, just acknowledging where they are and acknowledging that it’s okay to honor those feelings and the anxiety that she was feeling and just, just knowing for the safety of, of moving forward. And I just thought that that was a huge move for all of us to just witness and, and to really just pause and, and take a self-reflection of our own feelings.
Well, that’s true. That’s a really valid point. I thought she was very courageous in being able to say, You know what? This is, this is not good . You know, I’m not [00:10:00] okay. And that’s, I think that’s the biggest struggle. It’s so hard for people, adults to reach out and say that, but it’s even harder for kids.
Mm-hmm. particularly to tell their parents or their friends. Friends are nearly impossible because they never wanna show weakness or, you know, they, they wouldn’t. Let somebody know that they’re hurting or they have all this anxiety. I mean, that’s something that’s very private to most people, but it should be shared.
And I think encouraging parents to talk to their kids about it and say, Are you nervous or are you scared? And if you are, that’s okay. And letting them be able to express that. I mean, You, you’ve really succeeded as a parent when your kid can come up to you and say, Oh my gosh, I am so stressed out. This is what’s I, I’m having difficulty handling this situation.
And usually that comes out in negative ways. Right? It’s not a kid telling you that it’s, you know the boy who’s punched, I mean, I have my own kid punched a hole in the wall or or somehow got in a big fight with you, started yelling and screaming or throwing things around the room or, you know, silent and slammed the door [00:11:00] and, you know, shut you out.
Those are usually the way kids cope cuz they don’t know how to express themselves and it’s so important to encourage that. That dialogue and, and let them know that it’s okay and show them examples of people that have been courageous. You know, show them examples, but also set the example yourself.
Because I think as parents we also get overwhelmed and sometimes we’re yelling, Hey, just, you know, I need five minutes or just. Out. Right. Stop, Stop coming at me every five minutes. You know, I have work to do or this or that. And we have lessons to learn there too, that it’s important for us to say, Okay, you know what?
I just need a minute. I need a minute. And then explain to the kids, because they’re, you know, kids aren’t stupid. They’re very smart. And they have a right to un be able to understand the situation better. So if you just brush them off every time and just say, I needed a minute, or, they’re not going to understand why you needed that, but if you can take a step back and then afterwards say, Oh my gosh, you know, I had this big presentation I was working on for work.
I just needed to focus. I was nervous about it, but now I, it’s behind me and I can [00:12:00] focus, I can go forward and you know, this is how adults get overwhelmed. I think it’s really important to model that. Yeah. I think having that open conversation is very, the kids respect it and I, I think they, they can handle it.
You know, they, they really can. One thing I did with both of my kids, at one point I found an online, and I have no idea if it was a valid thing, but it was helpful cuz it opened up the conversation. It was an online self-assessment mm-hmm. . And so it asked the, the. Test taker, you know, a handful of questions.
And at the end it gave him a numerical score. And then it said if you scored, you know, between this range, you are struggling with you, you, you’re showing symptoms or signs of this, this and this. If you have this, you know, that, that sort of a thing. But it opened up the conversation. So I’m like, Okay, you guys are a level seven.
What, what does that mean to you? And we were able to really discuss their, their mental health and their mental. You know, wellbeing at the moment. Mm-hmm. . And so it was, it just was [00:13:00] opening the dialogue. I don’t think that the diagnostic test was, you know, a diagnosis for them or anything, but it helped opened the door for conversation.
Yeah, absolutely. It doesn’t have to be, and there’s so many different ways you can open the door for conversation. And sometimes too, you know, this is why I always stress to parents that you have to know your kids’ friends. You have to know not just their friends, but their. You have to know what’s going on in other households, and the way that you do that is by asking questions.
Mm-hmm. , you know, I know with myself, my kids were never allowed to go to someone’s house and unless I knew who they were knew who the parents were and had met them from a very young age, but even as my kids got older, even my high schooler, now there’s times where I’ll say, Wait a minute, who’s Duncan?
Where does he live? You know, talk to me about Duncan. Let’s talk about him. Mm-hmm. , you know, when a new kid would come into the fray, and you have to do that because number one, Of course you wanna know what your kids are doing and who they’re hanging out with. That’s super important. To, and, and that’s a way to stay on top of it when you know there’s good parents and good family.
Or if [00:14:00] the, you know, the kids seems good, but the parents seem a little wacka doodle, that’s okay. It just means you just have, maybe keep a closer eye and ask more questions. Sure. Maybe get to know that parent a little better so you can keep a better eye on it, but also it opens the door for you to talk more about those kids.
Oh, Duncan looked kind of down today. What was going on with him? You know, does he, Is anything going on? and when it’s about somebody else, they will open up immediately and they’ll tell, Oh my gosh. You know? Yeah. Duncan, he got an X on his test or he, you know, I don’t know. He got, he didn’t have very fast time in cross country, so he is really down.
He didn’t make the varsity team. Those are, those are pathways to open up dialogue, so they’re not even directly talking about your child, but you’re talking and that’s what’s important. How do you handle it? I, I, I do that with, with my, do I have one child still at home and I am that parent? I check Life 360.
Okay. You said you were gonna be here, but now you’re here. What’s going on? You need to keep in touch with me. Who are you going out with? Who’s gonna be there? I ask all of those [00:15:00] questions and when night my daughter came home and she said, she goes, You know, so and so was laughing because you do that all the time.
You always are calling to check. And I go, Well, yeah, you’re my daughter. You’re my responsibility. I love you. I care about you. I wanna make sure you’re safe and you know, whatnot. I go, Don’t the other parents? And she said, No, they don’t. You’re the only one. And, and I said, Well, does that, how does that make you feel?
You know, does that embarrass you that I am that parent? And she says, Well, it kind of gets on my nerves, but I do know that you love me and you care, and that’s why you’re doing. So I said, Okay, good. Cause it’s not gonna stop . I’m still gonna do it whether you like it or not, but what, what else can we, we do with these kids?
And that’s what I, I said to her, then I said, Well, you know, I care about her and I care about him, so I’m checking on them too. Right. You know, But there’s so many parents that my daughter’s now 14, I don’t have to worry. You know, there’s so many that just kinda. Yep, I do. Absolutely. And I think, I may [00:16:00] have even said it before on this podcast because I say it so often, but parents don’t need more, Our kids don’t need more super or less supervision as they’re getting older.
They need more. And by that I don’t mean the hovering supervision. I mean now, you know, especially when they get to the point like, Your daughter, She’s 14. She’ll be driving soon. You know when they start driving and they have more freedom and all of that. Mm-hmm. , they have more freedom to get into trouble and this is why you start early to help them with the checking in and all of that.
My, my, I mean, you just graduated from high school. He is on his way to college, but he still checks in with me. Hey mom, this is where I’m going. He comes in at the time of curfew or he tells me if he’s going somewhere else because that’s just what we’ve gotten used to. Mm-hmm. , but oh, of course there were struggles a lot, many times where he would say, Well, so and so’s mom doesn’t make him do this or that, or, Or, Why couldn’t I have gone to prison for the weekend with my buddies?
Well, because I’m sorry I’m not their mom and I wish more parents. Just kept a closer eye. And again, it’s not hovering because I don’t watch him every second on his phone to see, on my phone to see where he’s at. I don’t do that. I’m, I’m not completely hovering [00:17:00] over him. But it’s that re you have that respectful relationship.
And I think in doing so, he ends up telling me more. And I know a lot more than a lot of the parents that I speak to who don’t check in with their kids at all and know absolutely nothing. And they’ll say, Gosh. I didn’t talk to you, I wouldn’t even know that they went on this trip or that they did these things that they’re doing.
So it’s so important to be involved. But you But it’s that line. It’s being involved. Yeah, exactly. Cuz we were just talking about being the helicopter parent. You don’t wanna be doing that. You have to walk that line. And is such a delicate line and as our, our kids are growing up and I have one in our second year in college and one that has just graduated and off to his way to college in a couple days.
So, but it, what I think has been such a, an incredible journey for me as a parent, and I’m just also being a single parent, is. Finding that delicate line and then also seeing it in a, in a role reversal. [00:18:00] So if I’m like driving home, they’re checking in with me like, Oh, welcome home, mom. You just got home where they’re far away from me at the moment.
And it’s just really kind of like, it hugs me from afar and being able to say, Okay. They, I know they’re not checking on me all the time, or perhaps they are, but I’m not doing it to them. . Sometimes I am, but it’s just kind of like a mutual respect where we do check in with one another and just not only just make sure you’re safe, physical way, but also like, how was your day?
I, I, you know, I know its, she went to the gym or whatever. So it’s just, it’s, it doesn’t just happen over. No, it takes a lot of time and I also don’t want peop, so if there’s a parent who’s listening who, let’s say their kids are in high school and they haven’t ever done this, or they’ve been that parent that has had to work two jobs and hasn’t been around, you know, physically a lot, just because they, you know, Haven’t had that time and, and really didn’t know how.
That doesn’t mean that all is lost [00:19:00] and you know your kids are screwed. That’s not true. , you, they’re not. There’s always the opportunity. So, and now is such a great time to stay step in and say, you know what You know, I’ve learned a lot over the last year. I, I think you can use Covid in this pandemic as the teaching moment to say, Gosh, we’ve learned so much about each other and just about life and what kind of parent I wanna be for you, and also what kind of life I wanna have, and.
Here’s where I wanna have some change and, and this is what I want it to look like and why. And you know, I really want you to participate and I wanna get to know you more. I wanna get to know you better. Cuz there’s things I, I really don’t know. And kids love that. They love structure. I will tell you that, you know, for years now, and it’s not just because I’m a therapist.
I think just because we’ve created this in our home, I’ve had more kids that have confided in me that I barely know because I am here and I have. This may be at evening, it’s 10 o’clock at night and my son will say, Oh, so and so has a problem. Can you talk to them? Sure. Let’s talk. That is [00:20:00] such a gift, Claudia.
That is just, It is. It’s a gift. A gift to those kids. It’s too, Absolutely. I feel it warms my heart when we have, you know, if I need to. Take somebody under my wing and say, Okay, let’s talk about this. It’s gonna be fine. What do you, Let’s talk to your parents. Like, give them a call. I promise you it’s gonna be okay.
And, and it’s not that their parents were bad parents, they just have never been able to really talk to them. But sometimes you. You know, all it takes is that one person to jump in and say, You know what? I can help you talk to your parents and let’s bridge that gap so you can, having these conversations with them because they want them and the kids want them.
They crave that. Even if they say, I hate these rules and I hate the curfew, and they crave that. They really do. The structure and the boundaries that are set, it’s so important. They really do. They need that consistency and structure. That is what you always preach. And it is, it’s so important. I side story.
I taught in a Title one school where these kids didn’t have much of a home life. The bulk of them had one parent at home. Some of them didn’t even have a [00:21:00] parent at home. They were in foster care or living with a grandparent. and it was a very daunting task to think. I mean, I had one student that had the ankle monitor, kind of, he was on house arrest type of, I mean, I, I had a really tough tough group of kids.
They were, they saw things that I’ve never seen in my life. I mean, so going into this situation, it was my first teaching job and I just, I went with your consistency and structure. I said, You know what? They’re gonna hate me at first. It turned out to be the greatest job. I, I, I loved working with these kids.
They loved me and they, they needed that. They, they knew, needed the rules, They needed the boundaries, they needed the structure. They might have fought them initially, but then it just gave them such comfort. And honestly, those five years at that school made me a much better parent. Because I instilled that consistency and structure with my own family, and it, it’s just, it’s so important for kids and for our families who are listening who [00:22:00] don’t have that, you know, it’s okay to start.
I, I kind of look at Covid now that we’re reemerging into society again. It’s almost like a clean slate. It’s like a, a new starting point where you can say, Okay, this was not working. We had a stop in our world. Let’s, how do we wanna design our world now moving forward? Right. Right. I think that’s totally okay to have those open conversations.
They are, And it’s so important to include your kids in the conversations mm-hmm. , even the young ones to say, What would you like to see different? What would look different? You know, and you might be surprised at what your kids might say. And they might might say something like, Well, we never eat dinner together.
I’ve heard that so many times, and I’ve talked to those parents and they say, Well, it’s so hard because I get off work so late and I do. Well, you know what? That’s true. That’s true. But there is a way. So what does that mean? Does that mean you do all the dinners on the weekend? Does that mean that, you know, you take out at least one day a week where you can go home early and if you can’t physically do it, then do you eat at eight o’clock every night?
Then maybe you do do that so that your kids can have it, you know, together and you schedule [00:23:00] them snack time before that so they’re not missing out. Right. And all of that. But there is a way, and it is hard for parents, I will say. It’s hard, but having kids is hard. Having kids that turn out to be, you know, thriving.
Self sufficient, wonderful humans, human, adults, mm-hmm . It’s hard, hard work. It’s never easy. But I guarantee you if you put in the work it will be amazing. And I love what you said, Alison, about this being an opportunity for like a reset and what we heard from a lot of parents that are listening to our podcast.
So they went from Covid to now launching every sport again. They’re going like zero to 60. You’re absolutely right. They’re in, they’re in tryouts. They’re doing activities. They’re running from one place to the other. The child is running 30 minutes late to get to his tutoring session, and now it’s like there’s no pause and there’s a disconnect.
So, [00:24:00] They’re, they’re, they’re all stressing and, and it’s, I laugh, but it’s, it’s just so relatable because as humans we just kind of fall back to where we were in the first place, and these, if not more so because we missed it so much that we feel like we’re making up for lost time, you know? Yeah, for sure.
Yeah. And so what, what can we, what kind of tools would you suggest to these families who are now feeling. The overwhelmed, the overwhelmed anxiety of going full bo, you know, because it in contrast to where we’ve been. It’s, It’s a lot. It is a lot. It is a lot. Well, I think it goes back to having that family meeting and, you know, family meetings should always start with the parents first to outline what are we gonna talk about, What are the decisions we need to make so that they can have their ideas, but also be on the same page.
If you’re a single parent, it’s great if you have some support, even if that’s maybe grandma. Or a friend, it would be great to have [00:25:00] support. If you don’t, it’s okay. You don’t have to. But just to run that by and, you know, just feel like you’re taking the stand first. So the parent has to take the stand first because good parenting is top down parenting where the parents are on the same page.
It’s never good to be in a family meeting where mom and dad are arguing. What we’re supposed to do, when the kids are like right, thank anyone. Agree. So, hey, I’m gonna throw a wrench in and I’m gonna say this . So parents, it’s important to have, even if you’re a single parent, you know, figure out what you’re gonna say, how you’re gonna say it, and what the goal is.
And then when you talk to the kids, give them a voice and let them have some wins, even if it’s something not exactly what you want. If that means, you know, in order for us to have dinner together on a Tuesday, we have to have Taco Bell. And then the mom is think. Well, that’s horrible. You know, , I don’t wanna talk about not healthy.
That’s gross. I’m only gonna feed you healthy food. That’s what I’ve decided. Well, you know what? One day a week is not gonna hurt them. And if they’re excited, then they get to at least be with you. And that’s all you have is that 20 minutes or 30 minutes. That’s what you need to [00:26:00] do. And it’s okay to make those accommodations.
So pick your battles, but also include kids on those decisions. It’s so, so important. You’ll get so much a better reception and so much more buy-in. Buy-in. Mm-hmm. . Absolutely. Absolutely. Oh, I’m writing this down. It’s just so valuable. . Its now I wanna change gears a little bit. We’ve been talking so much about parenting.
One of our listeners wrote in a question about high school campuses. Actually, I don’t even know if they specify high school, but just the stress of being a teacher. And of K, keeping the kids physically, socially, academically and emotionally healthy. The elementary kids, the elementary teachers are making sure the kids are three feet apart, keeping their masks on, doing all, you know, they’re having to micromanage physical space, but then still trying to accommodate the academics.
Making up for a lost year, like they’re so much. And add to that, we. A shortage of teachers, and then we have a shortage of [00:27:00] substitutes. And so even the teachers, the teachers that are now working the, it’s, they can’t take a day off because there’s no subs or they’re leaving their kids in the hands of, you know, whoever it, it’s just, I believe Clark County, and now Sandy, correct me if I’m wrong, high school graduates can be subs as long as you’ve graduated from high school, so we can have 18 year olds teaching 18 year olds.
I mean, it just, it’s, it’s crazy. So the stress of having not qualified people in charge of a classroom, Right. I mean, there’s just so much for our poor teachers. What, you know, what can we do as, you know, community members, as parents, as you know, educators. How can we support our teachers? Well, it’s so hard.
It’s so I feel for teachers right now. I really do. Me too, Like you said, they’re, they’re struggling in so many different ways. The one thing I will say is that, And I would say the same thing about the structure and routine. Routine in the [00:28:00] classroom. Because once you have that established, and once kids know this is the drill, you’re three through feet apart, you’ve gotta wear your mask, they will follow.
Kids are so great, they’re so resilient, and they do listen when they’ve got. You know, the authority saying this is what needs to happen. And for the most part, they will listen to the teacher. Once you’ve got the routine going, it gets a lot easier. But that’s a difficult part. I think keeping that structure, but also having teachers advocate for themselves.
So if they need that help in the classroom, maybe they need to be reaching out to. To parents and saying, Here’s where I, you know, if I’m doing all of this in the classroom, I don’t have any time to grade these papers, or I don’t have any time to do this. I’m, I’m looking about your child’s safety, their wellbeing, socially, emotionally, all of that stuff.
You know, parents can volunteer, they can help even if the parents aren’t allowed on campus, cuz some campus. Buses aren’t allowing, you know, parents to come in and stuff. It doesn’t mean that a parent can’t come and pick up a bunch of art things that she needs to put together or put together, you know, cut out a whole bunch of triangles at home.
So, so the teacher doesn’t have to do [00:29:00] that. Parents will are really willing to step up. There’s a lot of parents who are stayat home parents that would be happy to help even. I mean, I always worked, I always ran a business and I still had time to go in. I made time for. An hour at least every week, where I was in the classroom with my kid helping out or you know, going to meetings, things like that.
So everyone can find a little bit of time because your child is the one that’s benefiting. So help those teachers and teachers don’t be afraid to ask for that. Parents are really, really willing to help. I think they’re less apt to give money right now because a lot of people are strapped, but certainly mm-hmm time people are willing to give.
And then also, Take time for self care, whatever that looks like for you, even if it’s during the day at school, if you need that break, and you can have, you know, teachers can switch off, you know, maybe there’s a time where the two, two classes get together so that one teacher can have some time to themselves, and then the next day the other teacher has time to themselves.
There’s ways to work around it, but you have to advocate for yourself. You have to talk. You have to, you know, [00:30:00] say, Hey, I’m struggling, or, This is hard for me because it’s hard for everyone. We all have struggles, but no one will really know the level that you’re, that you’re at unless you are advocating for yourself.
You’ve got to do it. And, and parents, if you’re listening, don’t be afraid to reach out to the teacher. You know, the teacher might not be reaching out to ask for help, but as a parent you can always just. You know, I’m here, I’m available. What can I do? And, and give your list of what you’re able to do. What does your time allow you to do?
If it’s grading papers or if it’s cutting out art supplies, absolutely. Reach out to your teachers and that’s okay too. That will help everybody, I really think. Absolutely. I think to get through all of this, we really. We need to work together. You know, it just a, as a community, everybody needs to really be looking out for other parents, other teachers, and just other members of our, our EN environment.
And that speaks so true even for like older siblings, once you’re in high school and doing community [00:31:00] service hours. You can certainly volunteer at the younger levels or even Sure. College you can reach out to the schools around you. So I, I think that at all levels it does take a village.
I so agree with that. I’ve always said that it does take a village and I have so relied on my friends and you know, colleagues and all of us, you know, to be able to express, express how we’re feeling, but also share what’s going on and how can you help out. And people are so willing to step up. They really are.
And then in turn, when someone steps up, now, if you’ve stepped up for somebody when you need help, you know that person is going to be right there for you or somebody else will. So, We need to rely on each other. And you know, that sense of community is very, very important. And we lost a lot of that during the pandemic.
We really did. It’s isolated. It’s hard to get back out there and reach out and, and there are people that are still struggling, don’t really wanna go out and do a lot of things. You don’t have to, [00:32:00] You can still do a lot from your home to support people, whether that’s a phone call or a Zoom or. Picking some up food up for somebody because they, you know, couldn’t get their kids fed that night and, you know, could you run over and just bring them some Taco Bell , like we talked about on Taco Podcast, Taco Bell.
So, you know, just there’s so much that we can do and it’s just, it’s little things that people will appreciate so much. Mm-hmm. . Yeah, you, you mentioned in our last podcast we were talking about dealing, dealing with struggles and you said, you know, talk to people because you’re not alone. There’s going to be somebody else going through what you are going through currently or have gone through.
And so it just, that support is so vital and we just need to. Be okay talking, you know, we just really need to be okay to, to discuss it with other people because there’s, you’re not alone. There’s other people dealing with what you’re dealing with. Mm-hmm. , right? Absolutely. Yep. We have another question from one of our [00:33:00] listeners.
And I believe this one, Oh, I’m not, I don’t have the name attached to it, but I would love to hear about tips for teachers and parents to help kids who are now back in school after more than a year on Zoom for kids that have been remote for so long. My teacher friends are seeing major issues ranging from not knowing how to socialize to being overwhelmed with all of the work and such a rigid schedule again.
And as a parent, I’m seeing it also. So what kind, what tips do we have? Well, I think it’s what we were talking about earlier helping kids get back into that structure of what that looks like, but also your expectations. You can’t have such high expectations either. I think as a teacher or as a student you have to ease them into this.
This is a really tricky thing, but I do think that if students are eased into it and don’t feel like everything’s in their face at once, they’re gonna be able to manage it. Unfortunately, I do think that they feel like everything’s in their face at once. Yeah. So everything is sort of right there and out there.
And that’s maybe where maybe in some [00:34:00] areas we need to take a little bit a step back with some of the students. It’s a good time right now to evaluate where they’re at. I mean, some students have just only in the last couple weeks started school while some students started the first week of August.
So people are at different stages. My college kid, just like your Sandy, isn’t leaving until next week. So . Mm-hmm. , you know, they haven’t even started yet, but boy, I know it. I mean, how to go from high school, Right. That was all online until now into college. Mm-hmm. . I’m scared for him, you know, I know he’s nervous.
You know, I, I think he’s gonna do great, but there’s gonna be a lot of checking in and a lot of figuring out, Okay, what can we do? So I think the communication is key. There has to be a lot of communication. Be careful parents though, about the communication with teachers. You don’t have to check in every single day.
and you don’t have to check in with are, did they eat lunch? You know. Right, right. That’s important, but you know. Pick the topics that you really, where you see your kids struggle, but also as a parent, really try to get the home piece in check, which [00:35:00] making sure they’re eating, making sure they’re sleeping.
Sleeping is huge and I can’t stress this enough too because the pandemic created these loosey goosey schedules where kids could stay up until all hours, you know, doing God knows what and sleeping in and, and for parents. Especially parents started to work from home. It was probably better for them because, you know, the house was quiet and they just, as long as their kids are home and safe, they were okay with it.
But now it’s hard for kids to get back into that routine of going to bed early, and they have to be reminded younger kids who are, you know, Younger than 12, they really need 10 hours of sleep. You know, they need at least 10 hours of sleep sometimes more for the younger kids. And as you get older, it doesn’t negate that, that you need less.
It’s just that there are more things going on through the day, and so it’s hard for kids to get 10 hours of sleep, but eight hours should be the bare minimum of sleep that they get. Mm-hmm. not the maximum, which is in a lot of cases, what happens if kids are staying up till 10 or 11 o’clock at night and then they have to get up at 6:00 AM It’s just not enough.
There’s no [00:36:00] way for them to engage the next day and be fully present when they’re not getting sleep. And I know it’s a battle that parents face all the time, but do the battle now and get it in check and it will get better. And yes, they’ll be fighting. Yes, they’ll be crying and yes. There’ll be all kinds of things, but you know what?
Everyone will be better off for it. So that piece of it. But then teachers too you know, should also lay out that expectations for parents and what they’re doing and where they need help, because it’s a lot. And if they see students struggling in something like the socialization, maybe that’s something that they could reach out and point out and say, Hey, you know, I see that, you know, Johnny is just really having a difficult time making friends in the classroom.
You know, what can I do to help as a teacher because. Teachers want their kids to all have fun in the class and be, be social. And they don’t wanna see poor kids sitting all by themselves all the time, but they’re watching all the kids and it’s hard for them to know what each student might need. So parents can help advocate for their children as well.
What, what would be [00:37:00] some red flags? We talked about this last time as well, and I thought that was very, very helpful. As a teacher now, what are some red flags that a teacher should be looking for, knowing that this is a transitional time for. All of us. What would be something that, you know, I know it’s a transition time, but that is just not okay.
Like what are some things that maybe teachers can be looking out for to, to communicate with parents? Sure. Well the things that they probably always have been looking out for is kids falling asleep in class. , you know, if they’re just so tired they can’t hold their head up. Obviously that warrants a call.
Hey, you know what, I think maybe they need to get some sleep and, and that’s really good for parents to know too, cuz sometimes parents don’t know kids are staying up. Tell all hours cuz they fall asleep from kids do , so mm-hmm. . So that, that’s a piece of it. Another red flag for teachers is you know, when they really are isolating, it’s pretty easy to spot the kids who’s who are isolating and it’s always a red flag.
Now, it doesn’t mean necessarily that the kids can’t make friends or are struggling with that. It could very well [00:38:00] be that something’s going on at home or there’s some kind of issue going on internally that. Making them not wanna talk or not socialize. So huge red flag. Any kind of isolation is a huge red flag.
I do think even bullying or aggression is a red flag as well. It doesn’t necessarily mean that kid is a bad kid. What’s going on that’s making this kid pick on others. Mm-hmm. There’s something going on that’s making him, and I’m just gonna pick on him. It can be girls too. Girls can. Even meaner than the boys.
I think girls are meaner than boys. , in fact, ok, let’s lose a girl for that example. If a girl is just coming at another girl and just keeps name calling is just bullying and bullying. Bullying, what is it about herself that is making her feel so bad that she’s having to put someone down so much, you know, something’s going on.
I, I don’t ever like to blame the. Because that bully got there for a reason, so let’s figure out what that is and help them as well. So those are all red flags. Teachers are pretty good at spotting that, but with everything being so overwhelming, you know, it may be hard to address [00:39:00] those things. And I would just encourage teachers to get parents involved a lot sooner than maybe they normally would as soon as they see the isolation is the big thing, especially now.
Cause I think that kids have really learned to just go off on their own because that’s the only place they could go now. Yeah. Oh, great. Yeah, that’s, that’s a lot. It’s, and, and it’s just another layer that we’re adding to our, our teachers. . I, I, I don’t know how they do it all. I just, I really don’t know. No, they’re expected to do so much.
They are, there’s a lot on their plate and that’s why I continually stress, you know, them advocating for what they need. You know, what, what do you need? What can we do as parents? What we can, what can we do as a community? What can the school do for you? , everybody’s tapped out. We understand that. So what can we do to help to make it a little easier and make the transition better through this time?
Because things just look very different and it, it’s, it’s a new normal that’s Yeah. Just chaotic and, and nobody has lived through it. So, Yeah. And it keeps [00:40:00] changing this new normal, It’s, it’s, there’s no stability to it. There is no, And we thought we’re vaccinated. Life’s back to normal. Oh, guess what? No, it’s not.
And now there’s a resurgence and it. Yeah, there’s no stability. And that to me is the most troubling, I think that I see with my own, with my daughter at home. The lack of that the lack of not, they don’t know what’s gonna be mm-hmm. , you know, we, we talked before about how, you know, the whole previous year, everything kept getting canceled.
Mm-hmm. , you know, you look forward to something, Oh, it’s canceled. Looking forward to something, it’s canceled. Okay. So that, you know, instability. And now here we are. Thinking that we’re on the, a proper trajectory, but again, it’s still very uncertain. It’s turbulent. Turbulent is the, is a good term. Yeah. And how to deal with that.
You know, I keep saying we’re building character. We’re be learning how to pivot. We’re learning how to be flexible , but there’s only so much that these kids can take. That’s [00:41:00] true. I mean, I, I feel like the kids can take a lot more than we can because we we’re stubborn and we’re setting our wage. we’re setting our wage.
Yes, we are. And we’ve lived life a certain way for a very long time, and change is hard. A lot of kids, It’s funny how you don’t see as many kids that are. Concerned about wearing the mask. You know, it’s mostly parents, you know, the kids are like, Okay, I’m wearing a mask. I’m just doing it. So, because they adapt and they just kind of move on with their day because kids, they, they live in the moment, but they’re always on to whatever’s going on next.
You know, they’re just kind of moving along, doing their thing and, and we see, we tend to sit with things like, I can’t believe we still gotta wear this mask, you know? And I’m, I’m so tired of it. My face is breaking out and I’m hot and I can’t breathe. And , you know, all the things that we complain about, it’s true.
We all hate it. We all hate it. But I still think if you keep all the other things consistent, mm-hmm. , they will get through it. And, but they need that consistency and support and they need parents to be able to support it. So if there’s something going on, like, I’m, I’m just gonna use the mask debate as, as something if.
[00:42:00] If the school says you have to wear a mask to school, it’s really hard for the teacher when you’ve got a parent saying, I don’t want my kid to wear a mask. So, you know, make sure he takes it off five times a day. Or make sure you have to be aware as a parent, you can’t have those kind of expectations on your teachers.
Mm-hmm. , you know, they have to follow rules too, and mandates and they’ve, they’ve gotta do what’s right for all the kids, not just your kid. Now, If, if it’d be good for all the kids to go outside to take a breather when they can take off their mask, great. You know, let, let’s do that. But you, you know, you have to be really careful and be sensitive to that too.
You know, teachers need some sensitivity right now. They really do. I mean, parents do too, but my gosh, parents are, parents or teachers are carrying a heavy load and there is a shortage. It’s across the board, it’s across the United States. You know, there’s a shortage. People leaving their jobs just because, you know, it’s overwhelming.
It’s too much. It’s, it’s too much stress for one person to handle. So be mindful of that when you’re talking to teachers, cuz they’re not indentured servants. You know, they’re there to do a job, but they care. They, they wouldn’t be in this [00:43:00] profession if they didn’t care. Yeah. It’s, it’s so much yeah, I’m just, I’m just thinking about the whole mask.
I remember when it first started, and not to disparage my husband, but we went into a store and they said, I’m sorry, sir, you need to wear. Macu goes, Why? I don’t want to. And this poor 17 year old kid is like, I don’t know. They told me to tell you you have to wear one. And so he’s trying to get into these like.
Intellectual debates over, you know, the validity of wearing mask versus not. You know, it just, dude, it’s not this kid’s fault. Just put on your stupid mask and, you know, stop, just move forward. You know? So we have that going on. The teachers are just trying to instill. The rules, right? They, they don’t have a say in the matter , right?
And, but then you have parents who are grumpy because they don’t want their kid to wear it. Then you have the parents who are grumpy because they wanna make sure everybody’s wearing it. And so these poor teachers are trying to balance both of those attitudes. And it, it, I, I’m overwhelmed [00:44:00] for them. So any teacher’s listening?
If you want me to come volunteer in your classroom, I totally will. , just give me a call. You’re in the Reno area. I will happily come help out cause it. It’s dreadful. It’s dreadful. And my husband does wear a mask now, just to let everybody know, that was in the beginning. He was super grumpy about it.
Just come and clean . I know, I know. And I think, I think Claudia brings up a good point is when the kids get asked to do it, they’re, they’re doing it. I mean, they’re athletes. They’re still doing it. It’s so, Yes. It’s just they, they. Doing it because they’re being asked to and they are super resilient. So it, it is, when we get involved, it’s just, it just adds another layer, another voice.
It does noise. What it Right Noise. And they don’t need any more noise. So if it’s something that is an absolute deal breaker, I can understand. But you know, certain things, again, this is a stage where you have to pick your battles, is that, you know, , all the kids are doing it. And do you wanna single out your kid too?
That’s another thing. You know, you have to think about [00:45:00] what that child, young or old, teenager, however, whatever age they are, how are they feeling at school when they have a parent who comes in and wants to go against everything that’s, you know, mandated for all the kids. You may have your voice and your opinions and that, and that’s great, but you also have to look at what’s gonna be right for.
Student and what is right in the moment. I mean, you also have the right to take your student out of that school if that’s what you decide. You have every right to do that. But if a child is attending, you have to follow the rules. The rules can’t be different cuz it’s not, you know, it’s very different than someone who has a peanut allergy, you know?
And okay, we have to make sure there’s no peanuts around this one student. That’s, you know, that’s a situation where, yes, we need to make sure everybody needs to be informed, but it’s a little bit different here and you have. Pick your battles and see what is gonna make the most sense for your family, but also for your child at school.
Try to put your yourself in your child’s shoes, cuz they’re the ones that have to attend every day. Mm-hmm. . And then the teachers too. They’re the ones that are dealing with all the kids. So think about [00:46:00] them and what kind of a job that is. Cuz I know most parents when they go volunteer, they’re so happy when their hour is up and they’re back home again and they’re like, I don’t know how these teachers do it.
You know? Right. 30 kids or however many there are. It is a tough job and they deserve so much more recognition than they receive. Mm-hmm. , I would really hope after parents having to take such a role over the past year, that they would be more. Empathetic, patient or underst. Empathetic. Yeah, empathetic for teachers in their role.
And that, that leads me to one, I think we have time for one more question. Another, a teacher wrote in asking for advice on having to deal with difficult parents. Who are, you know, the, the helicopter parents when you know, as the kids get older, you want kids to advocate for themselves. Of course there’s going to be a period where parents have to step in of something that’s, you know, very serious, but the daily concerns of, of a student, really the student should be the advocate.
What is a gentle way for a parent, a teacher, excuse me, [00:47:00] to approach that with parents? . Well, I think, you know, oh my gosh, it, it’s tough because you want the parent to, you know, you wanna be, take a stand with the parents, and I think that’s the route you need to go. You know, we really need to be on the same page as teacher and parent of what’s going on for your child.
So listening to a parent’s concern. Is very important to you as a teacher. You know, you wanna hear what they have to say, but then in turn, as the teacher, you wanna be heard too. So you need to be able to get the point across and maybe set, set the standard for what, or, or the boundary, I should say, of what communication is going to look like and what, you know, what ever stage you’re gonna set for, how you’re gonna handle the issue with the kids.
Because some of these parents They do, they get, they get very involved, you know, very heated and they have a lot of concerns. And I think, especially now, safety’s a big issue and parents are, you know, they just wanna protect their kids at all costs and make sure that everything’s gonna go fine for them, which I, I commend [00:48:00] them for that.
Of course, you want that for your child, but at some point you have to trust trust the teachers you have to. A school, you have to also trust your child. And in doing so, I think you, you have to have those conversations as a teacher with parents to let them know they’re in good hands. You know, you will let them know if there’s red flags, you will let them know, kind of lay out what’s going on and also say, Here’s what we see.
Here’s what I see. Because sometimes. A lot of times actually kids act very different at home than they do at school and a hundred percent . And so parents will think, Oh my gosh, there’s no way this teacher, you know, I’m sure that you know, they’re not doing X, Y, and Z. And then the parent, the teacher will say, What are you talking about?
They speak in class, they’re wonderful, they’re , they’re this and that. So I think maybe communicating the positives if there is a real issue going on, and it’s a difficult issue. You do need to talk about, but also how are we going to work together? So the teacher’s not overwhelmed by a parent who’s coming at them, but the, a parent also can do their part and feel like they’re being heard as well.
So it’s [00:49:00] about the communication. And I think when you have those conversations, it’s. It really helps because parents have said to me for a long time, I’ve heard the argument, Well, the teacher doesn’t have time for me, or the teacher doesn’t get back to me. I emailed them five times. Well, maybe that’s the problem.
Why did you email them five times? How about emailing them and telling them, Here’s the days I have some times. Do any of these times work so we can have a conversation? Instead of one email a day, every single day this week, which, you know, how many emails do you think the teacher gets in one day from Right?
A lot, right? So they can’t, they, that’s a whole nother job. It’s just they need a secretary just to answer all the emails. So just remember that the teacher’s busy too, and try to put yourself in their shoes and try to schedule that time. And face to face is always better, or even zoom like this. But phone call is good too.
Better than just emails because sometimes I think that When teachers open the door for emails, then they get a lot more than they bargain for. So maybe that’s something to let them know too. Let’s schedule a time to talk, cut it off at the knees and say, Let’s just talk [00:50:00] instead of, I agreed. Trying to do a long diri on an email that gets taken out of context all the time, cuz you never, always, Yeah.
What phone is, and it’s just so much better to just hear someone’s voice and talk it out. So I encourage that. It’s a lot harder to be rude face to face than it. When you’re anonymous on an email, it, it just, I, we’ve learned that the hard way with our, you know, working with online. Yeah. It just, it’s better to make, make the phone call, but also parents remember that teacher doesn’t work for you.
You know, you, you made use the term indenture servants. They are not your servant. They are, They work for everybody. They are not at your beck and call. And so we really need to have some grace and really have some. Empathy and some understanding for these, these teachers going through probably the hardest period of time to be a teacher is, is right now.
Absolutely. And I would say if there’s anything special you can do for a teacher, you know, periodically, whatever that looks like for that teacher, maybe one [00:51:00] day bring them in a Starbucks when you know that that’s what they love or yeah, do something nice for them or have the. Even a student draws a picture for them or you know, anything like that, that, that shows a gesture of your appreciated teachers absolutely deserve that.
And they just Absolutely. And they need that encouragement. Cuz a lot of times they hear the negative, they hear what’s not working Right. Instead of all the things that they’re doing so well. I love as a tip for the older kids. My daughter, she has on her phone, she kept a list. She, she’s able to drive and so she kept a list of her teacher’s favorite drinks at coffee, at Starbucks or whatever.
And so she’ll take turns bringing something to all of them, you know, And She’ll or my other daughter, she knew that her teacher loved these. Chocolate candies, and so she would bring them in every, you know, few months. Just little things like that that might cost you five bucks, but they will go miles to make that person’s life a little bit better for the day.
Mm-hmm. . Yeah. So those are just some good, good little tips. They might be weird about bringing in home big [00:52:00] goods or something too, so. Check with the rules first, but it, it just, just sharing a little bit of note, a note even, you know, just, I appreciate what you do. Yep. A little card, a little, something like that.
And sometimes even, you know, having a, a gesture if, if someone knows that, oh gosh, you know, there’s a lot of cleanup after a certain period or something, and your student has time and every once in a while can go in and say, I know you’ve got all this going on. Can I help out today? I mean, Just those things are means so much and it means so much for your child to get that experience of helping and you know, just bringing joy to somebody else.
That is a gift in and of itself, you know, just for your own child to, to be able to do that is so rewarding. Absolutely. Yep. Let’s focus on the positive Everybody. for sure. Yeah. There’s so many positives. I think that’s, that’s something we have lost sight of, you know, a lot during this pandemic. It’s just been, there’s so much that’s weighed heavy and it’s created a lot of anxiety and [00:53:00] stress and just all this change.
But I think a lot of. Positives have come out and just the way we look at life and the things that we treasure and, you know, it help us sort of sort through what our priorities really are. And I think those are the positives you can bring. I know my life has changed a lot over the last year and just even the way I look at the future and what I want for my family and for the good, for the good.
So we have to look at those things. We, we can’t just focus on all the negative. Claudia. I, I agree. Joy. I absolutely. It’s been so rewarding. Thank you for all your feedback and just for being with us today. Thank you. I do, I just, I love spending time. I, I, I think we should do this weekly coffee with Claudia
I’d love it. Oh, well. I’d love to have more questions in the future if you have people that have you. Questions about certain things. Always happy to help. And you know, I, I love sharing knowledge, but also being a supportive, supportive of families and, you know, we’re all in this together and, you know, I’m definitely part of the village.
I need the help [00:54:00] sometimes, but I also wanna give it where I can. So, thank you so much for having me on. Again, I felt, felt honored to be asked for a second time, . Oh, don’t worry. There’s a, Third and a fourth
So listeners that you’ve heard it, if you have any questions for Claudia moving forward, there’s something that you thought that’s on your, on your mind that wasn’t addressed today, go ahead and send us an email or a DM via our social media page on Instagram. And Claudia, thank you. Thank you so much.
Thank you. Thank you, Claudia. Thank you so much for listening to Learning Reimagined. If you are enjoying this podcast, please help us spread the word by clicking the subscribe button or share your favorite episodes with families and friends, and leave us a five star review wherever you get your podcast.