Teacher’s new normal after five weeks of distance learning

‘A lot of here, there, everywhere, but we make it work.’

SAN ANTONIO – Many teachers can probably relate to Meredith Thomas’ “new normal” since distance learning began five weeks ago in the Northeast Independent School District.

“A lot of here, there, everywhere, but we make it work,” said the second grade teacher at Encino Park Elementary.

Since COVID-19 hit, like many others in teaching or other professions, Thomas is having to balance work and family under the same roof.

"I know it's challenging but you just got to find what works for you and your family," Thomas said.

Her family includes her three-year-old special needs son, her five-year-old daughter, and her husband in sales working from home.

Teaching from home: Distance learning, lesson planning... and raising a toddler in the age of COVID-19

Thomas said she gets an early start, checking in with her second graders on Zoom, reviewing their schoolwork, and answering any questions they or their parents may have.

"Then I fit my kids' work in between other meetings and calls," she said.

She helps her daughter Kinsley in kindergarten with her lessons online. Then, there’s Parker whose online activities for his class help with his therapy.

“So even my three-year-old has to work at home,” Thomas said.

But when it comes to getting her job done, she still has Kinsley and Parker occasionally interrupting.

"Sometimes they don't understand I'm still working even though I'm home," Thomas said.

When she began teaching 14 years ago, Thomas said she never imagined her life as it is now.

“I know adversity has made me grow and challenged me,” she said.

Thomas said she hopes it will do the same for her family and her students.

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