Q&A: Mr. Josh Clark, Social Studies & Mrs. Kathryn Clark, English

Mr.+Josh+Clark%2C+Social+Studies+and+Mrs.+Kathryn+Clark%2C+English+share+their+feelings+on+being+teachers+while+having+to+take+care+of+their+own+children+at+home.+The+two+follow+strict+schedules+to+stay+on+track+with+e-learning.

Mr. Josh Clark, Social Studies and Mrs. Kathryn Clark, English share their feelings on being teachers while having to take care of their own children at home. The two follow strict schedules to stay on track with e-learning.

Adriana Rodriguez, Photo Editor

Q: What do you teach at Lake Central?

KC: “English (specifically AP English Language 11, AP Seminar, DC Composition and Film Lit).”

JC: “Regular and AP U.S. Government.”

 

Q: What is a typical E-learning day like for you?

KC:  “I try to get up earlier than the rest of the family so I can have some peace before ‘school’ starts.  I make sure my lessons are up on Canvas for the day and I respond to student emails while I eat breakfast. For school time, we have the kids working starting at 9 a.m.  The boys do their school work with our help from 9-11a.m. They are young enough that they can’t really work independently yet.  And now, for a ridiculously specific answer to your question:

JC: 

“8:00- Breakfast

9:00- Begin elearning with kids

9:30- Respond to emails from my students while my kids are doing homework

11:00- Our kids usually finish their elearning. We will continue working with our own students

12:00- Eat lunch

1:00- Exercise with kids. Make sure that they are getting enough physical activity.

2:00- Work on upcoming lessons.

The rest of the day consists of doing yard work, house work, paying bills and other typical boring things like that.”

 

Q: What grade are your own kids in?

KC or JC:  “2nd and 3rd, and our daughter is in high school.”

 

Q: How do you  prioritize your students’ work vs. your children’s?

KC:  “We do all of our own work after our sons’ work is done.  We have to be on call for our students, their parents and our administrators from 10 a.m.-2p.m., and while we do monitor our email religiously during that time, it’s difficult to get actual work done while the boys are doing their Distance Learning. Therefore, we typically do our grading and lesson planning in the afternoons and evenings.”  

JC: “It is difficult because we have to go back and forth. During office hours (10-2), usually all I have to do with my own students is answer emails, because the lesson for the day is posted. The hardest part of the day is helping our kids with their work during that time, and then after that time is when we would work on lessons for upcoming days. Which actually is a lot more time consuming than just being in school.”

 

Q: How are your own kids adjusting to E-learning?

KC or JC: “They’ve adjusted surprisingly well!  Little kids are resilient.  We’ve been as patient as we can be with them, but they have really had very few meltdowns.  They miss their friends and teachers, but the actual school work has been acceptable.”  

 

Q: Are they finding it difficult to adapt to the fact that although you are home, you have work to do as well?

KC:  “They haven’t found that too difficult.  We’ve only been letting them play video games in the afternoon, so Mr. Clark and I try to get as much of our own work done as possible then.  Our kids are pretty good at playing together without needing too much interference from us.  We’re grateful that they have each other!  It’s also lucky that Mr. Clark and I both have the same job.  We’re both pretty competitive people, but since we understand how stressful this job can be, we’re good at helping each other out when we see our partner getting overwhelmed.  The shared career leads to a mutual understanding among us.”  

JC: “They are actually adapting ok. They are already familiar with a lot of the technology they are using for elearning. But they really miss school. You don’t hear kids say that a whole lot but it’s so true now.”

 

Q: What do you do for yourself to get away from E-learning and homeschooling your kids?

KC: “For me personally, I’ve been allowing myself to check out from my jobs by either reading or doing creative projects.  Distance learning has been way more intensive than I imagined it would be, so I haven’t read as much as I’d like, but I still try to either read or do something creative every day.”  

JC: “There is an isolated marsh off the Kankakee River where I like to go fishing once in a while.”

 

Q: What do you wish other people would understand about being a teacher and parent at the same time during this pandemic?

KC:  “That’s a tough question!  I don’t know if I want people to understand anything specific about this moment in history that I don’t want them to understand for every moment in history:  Being a teacher is hard!  Being a parent is hard!  Helping my own kids learn while also teaching my high school kids is exhausting and draining, but also very rewarding.  But the thing is…that’s always the case.  Pandemic or no pandemic, being a parent and a teacher is difficult yet amazing.  We should all understand that about each other.  I think too often people look at another’s situation (and I’m guilty of this, too), and we think, ‘Oh, they have it so easy!’ or ‘That’s not a real job.’  But that’s nonsense.  Everyone’s situations are probably more difficult than they look like from the outside.  We all need to appreciate what the other humans in our culture are contributing to our society.”  

JC: “That we are still working harder than ever. Teaching a class like this is a lot more time consuming and more difficult than being in class. Balancing keeping the kids physically and mentally healthy and keeping their academic skills sharp while trying to make good and effective lessons is a juggling act that is hard to master.”