Advice from parent on managing at-home teaching aide role: Be patient, take breaks

By KYW Newsradio 1060

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- Some homes have turned into classrooms during the coronavirus pandemic, and many parents have stepped in to help their kids navigate "virtual" learning. But that's not always easy for parents with more than one child learning at home.

School days are a full-time job for Gina Gorski, who has five kids, three of whom are in high school, and one who has special needs.

"The high school is from 8 to 2, and the grade school is from 8 to 3. My kids are online the entire day," Gorski said.

The pandemic and chaos of the school year has led Gorski to take time away from her job at a funeral home.

She says, in her new role as teacher's aide, converting her home into a school has been one of the more challenging tasks.

"Trying to find space in an already cramped home, where they're not bothering each other, or typical sibling 'This one's looking at me,' 'This one's breathing.'"

The mother from far Northeast Philadelphia says an important part of her day is making sure she's not overworking herself.

"A cup of tea. Take a walk out back to the end of the yard. Take a nice, deep breath, breathe in the sun. Then it's okay. I reset myself. I can go back in."

She also encourages her kids to be mindful of their personal needs, so they do not get too stressed out.

"Go to the bathroom, get a drink," she said. "Do something so you are not sitting there for hours."

Gorski says one of the more frustrating parts of the digital day is when the wi-fi slows down.

She adds that's always a good time to remind herself there are a lot of other kids and parents at home going through the same process as her.

"Just like 95, when you have, like, 30 people trying to get on the on ramp on a two-lane highway, it's going to be backed up. It's going to be slow. We just take a minute, realize that everyone is having these issues. We will get it worked out," she said.

She says she's encouraging the people she's interacting with to take things in stride.

"I think the biggest thing is we all need to be patient, kids and students and teachers. This is all new for everyone."

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The coronavirus pandemic has altered life in many ways for most of us, including the way students are learning. Over the next few weeks, KYW Newsradio is taking a look at the impact of COVID-19 on education with "Live and Learn: Education in a COVID-19 World."

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