How An Educator Runs A Business And Parents During Covid
By Dr. Sharon Jones, Founder & CEO, the dot. Consulting & Dottie Rose Foundation
The past months have been nothing short of a roller coaster ride
We have completely shifted our work, learning, and social interactions. As we move into the new school year and fall, we are experiencing lots of emotions and new mindset issues. In addition as a working parent, trying to manage time. That has been the biggest challenge for me as a working parent, time! I have actually always found myself to be very good with time management in my career and even as a mom under “normal” circumstances, however, during the pandemic my sense of time management has gone a bit haywire. In particular making sure to be present while my children are navigating their online platform, while also completing my work. For example, I thought the kids would be working online one particular afternoon so I accepted an important call and of course when the call started both children entered the room and started asking questions! It was a quick mute, video off, and then a redirection of children. And thankfully all members on the call completely understood.
Still a work in progress
To create a better environment for both myself and the kids, we had to come up with a plan! So the day before we launched our first day of school, my children and myself sat down to discuss what was ahead. We laid out their days based on the schedule the school provided, the after school activities, and then something to look forward too each week. The conversation was really enlightening as the children took responsibility for their schedule and gave great insights into what they would like to look forward to each week (mostly candy!). In addition, planning out their daily schedule provided me with an outline for my own work. I have worked diligently to plan my day around their work and when they are engaged, I do my calls, and when they have a break, I am able to interact with them with more presence. There are always emails, but I am working on boundaries and finding the rhythm of working in tandem with their schedule and still elevating my own work.
The following are a few strategies I have used to find my balance during the pandemic.
- Daily morning chat with my kids to review our day and expectations (usually while they are having breakfast :) )
- Planning my week on Sunday by honoring the school schedule of my kids and then working around that to plan important calls, work time, and emails. **This does not always work perfectly but I take about 10 minutes on Sunday to just check the week
- Using Slack (communication app) to communicate with my team on daily updates
- Each day, we take a brain break from technology and do something together. For example, take a walk, cook dinner, play a game, have a quick dance party, or just play!
- We find something to look forward to each week. This can be takeout from our favorite restaurant, candy treat, going to the pool, ice cream, etc.
Planning for the future
As we continue to work through the next few months we will listen to guidelines and adjust our work and learning. One silver lining on being virtual is we do have the opportunity to travel some and give flexibility on the physical location of where we work and learn, so we will be leveraging a bit of travel over the next few months. In addition, all of us on my team will continue to participate in virtual training, weekly meetings, and a continued focus on our mental health. We have to do it together.
About the Author:
Dr. Sharon Jones, Ed.D is the founder and CEO of the dot. Consulting and the non-profit Dottie Rose Foundation, where she leads and implements technology focused education and innovation. Dr. Jones has found her passion in education and has served as a computer science expert for the past 20 years, bridging the gap between our everyday actions and the application of technology. Dr. Jones is a highly sought after and national award winning Computer Science educator in the public school system and for corporate training. She has presented and been published nationally and internationally on data analytics, educational practices and technology. Her book A Recipe for Success Using SAS University: How to Plan Your First Analytics Project is being used in curriculum and classrooms around the country. When not running the technology-world, Dr. Jones spends her time with her husband Ricky, and two sons, Ethan and Dylan and their beloved dog, Cooper.