• June 5, 2020

Parents cope with remote learning - Odessa American: Community

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Parents cope with remote learning

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Posted: Monday, May 11, 2020 6:46 pm

Three Ector County ISD parents are coping with the brave new world of remote learning and have found a new appreciation of teachers.

Marlet Caraveo has a 4-year-old and an 18-month old. The preschooler attends Lamar Early Education Center.

It’s going fairly easy for me, I guess, because I do have a pre-k (student). It’s a change because she's missing her friends and she wants to go back to school. As far as the teaching goes, our teacher has been very good about telling us what to do and when to do it, how to do it and keeping them busy throughout the day so that they don’t miss it as much and then we do (Google) Meets. Having her see her friends and her teacher has been kind of a lifesaver,” Caraveo said.

She added that she doesn’t know how teachers do it with 20 students.

My heart breaks for the mom that has four kids and four different schools and four different ages because you can imagine how hard that is,” Caraveo said. “I’m a stay-at-home mom so I don’t have to worry about work, or reaching my own deadline at work … then still having to teach the kids. I feel like teachers are under-appreciated sometimes.”

She lives in the San Jacinto Elementary School district. Caraveo added that having to make a new schedule has been the biggest change. But the teacher has helped by sending one that includes everything from waking up to play time.

She also appreciates the meals that the Ector County ISD School Nutrition Department is providing.

Caraveo said they had purchased groceries before everything “got kind of crazy,” but just knowing those meals are available has been helpful.

“… She’s gotten used to eating that school food, so having that option has been really nice,” Caraveo said.

Kristin Scott, a fellow Lamar parent, has two boys, one of whom is in pre-k.

Scott lives in Gardendale so it was hard to get Internet access. She also was enjoying the social aspect of being a parent with a preschooler, which came to a sudden halt.

“… I actually had to get internet installed in the middle of the COVID panic way out here in the country,” she added. Her access still isn’t very good.

ECISD offered printed material, as well.

But so much of what they give you is really play based, which is how they learn at this age …,” Scott said.

She added that she also has an 11-month-old so that takes up her attention, plus she chores around the house.

The good thing is that her husband owns his own business and she manages the office.

So I can go in on the weekends and knock out most of my stuff because I have people in the office on a daily basis to attend to the day-to-day things, but I know there are people who aren’t so lucky. I wouldn’t be able to work and do this at the same time I can tell you that much,” Scott said.

Like Caraveo, Scott said she could not imagine teaching a class full of children.

“… There’s a reason why you have to go to school, to college, and become a teacher. This is not something that you can just go into blindly. … I’m really lucky because my teacher and my school have given out a lot of resources, but I mean still I’m no replacement by any means,” Scott said.

Laura Chavez has four children with the oldest one attending Crockett Middle School and the others at Milam Magnet Elementary. Having four children at all different levels has been a challenge, but they’ve made it work.

I have designated different times for each of my children to work with them. For example, in the morning, we have breakfast time then right at 10 we’ll start our classes. I’ll start with my preschooler just because I want to make sure I get all of his attention before we start getting distracted with my other children,” Chavez said.

At first, she said she was spending more time with her preschooler than the other children.

It was a matter of doing every day alphabet, numbers, shapes and just the very basic things that were very time consuming. But I work with him (and) during that time I will send my kindergartener to get online through one of the school programs which is either Istation or Imagine Math and during that time he is on there for 45 minutes, so that gives me those 45 minutes to work with my preschooler. My fourth grader has been able to work kind of more on his own, but there are times where I do have to step in and help him. My middle schooler, she has not coped well being home and doing work and not seeing friends, so I’ve had to sit with her and actually go over math, go over science so it’s just kind of dedicating time to each of my children and … just figuring it out day by day,” Chavez said.

Initially, it was hard to wade through the work that was being given, but now she said ECISD is doing an excellent job removing some of that stress and allowing parents to enjoy this time with their children.

Chavez is a Sunday school teacher at her church so she can relate that experience to this.

It’s funny, though. I can tell you this, right when everything kind of broke out I was just going crazy and one of my children said, ‘Mom, but we’re not having fun,’ and I just blurted out, ‘This is not supposed to be fun. This is school work.’ And after I said that, we all started laughing and I said, ‘You know what? You’re right.’ I am not going to stress. I’m going to do my very best and we’re going to get through this,” she added.

This is the first time our entire world is in a pandemic and we’re going to enjoy this moment. We’re not going to let it bring fear to our lives. We’re just going to do our best by staying safe and continuing to learn from our faith, so needless to say I think we’re now enjoying more of it and trying to have a little bit more fun,” Chavez said.

Everyone has their own space to work out of, which has helped maintain the peace, she said. But whenever the call of “Mom!” sounds through the house, Chavez knows someone needs help or is stuck on something.

I have my tennis shoes on, believe me, and it’s walking all around the house to whatever child is calling me,” she said.

Although she has volunteered as a VIP at Milam, Chavez said this is different.

“… I think that I always believe that God puts things in our path so we can learn and experience and come to understand. I think as humans, we tend to lose our sense of compassion and during this time, believe me, that I have a new respect for teachers. We’ve made sure to get gifts to them this week of Teacher Appreciation Week because it’s sometimes we don’t realize all the work that’s put behind when they come before a class of 20, 24 kids …,” she said.

She also has come to realize that her children are different at school than at home.

But I think I’ve come to realize that the respect for their teachers is a lot different. Here, they see me as mom; they don’t see me as their teacher, but I think we’re finally kind of coping with that and getting a lot better and knowing that it has to get done,” Chavez said.

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