NYC teacher on homeschooling: I’ve threatened to burn the iPad

By | May 9, 2020

Kensington mom Sarah Allen, 44, is homeschooling her four daughters — ages 3 to 10 — while also virtually teaching her kindergarten class for Brooklyn’s PS 372.

I think it’s my responsibility as a teacher to show parents what’s going on in my own household as far as remote learning is concerned. I wouldn’t want them to think everything is running seamlessly, because it’s not.

We have good days and bad — more like, good 15-minute periods and bad 15-minute periods. I cry in the bathroom when it gets overwhelming. I’ve threatened to burn our iPads and Chromebooks out of frustration.

It’s the worst when the technology fails. I had difficulties connecting with a little boy who I have a one-on-one video session with once a week, and it felt like the end of the world.

One day, I had a meeting I feared the girls would interrupt. I threw jelly beans into the living room and shut the door.

We have a two-bedroom apartment with a 6-by-8-foot closet where our 3-year-old sleeps. I actually sit in her crib when I am doing student meetings. It’s the only way I can get privacy; my husband is a web designer and works out of our bedroom. The older girls study in the living space or in the bedroom they share.

There have been victories. Our fifth-grader, Minna, got terribly behind in her math but worked for three days to catch up and meet the deadline for that particular unit. I was really proud of her independence.

There’s nothing nicer than hearing my students telling me what they’re doing  for Mother’s Day. As for me, I’m looking forward to a quiet day walking with my family in Green-Wood Cemetery, the beautiful green space that has brought us peace and solace.

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— As told to Jane Ridley

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