Working mothers have long borne the task of raising children while simultaneously trying to advance their careers—and it has been a difficult task! But their lives just became even more difficult. Now they must add the title ‘teacher’ to their long list of tasks. As coronavirus continues to ravage society and put a halt to normal school systems, parents are left with the task of making sure their child is receiving adequate education. For many parents, they are unable to afford nannies, babysitters, or tutors to help instruct their children. As such, the task of teaching their children falls squarely on the shoulders of parents.
Schools have attempted to mitigate the responsibility parents have over the education of children by creating online classroom environments. Teachers have been using platforms such as Zoom or Google Classroom to help keep children engaged. However, there is clearly a disconnect between teachers and their students. Nobody can contest the fact that learning is easier for children in a hands-on, nurturing environment. Additionally, children with learning disabilities and accommodations are in an even worse situation than their peers. These groups need significant attention and are already prone to falling behind their fellow students. Classes online only push these groups even further apart.
Moreover, there is the issue of retention of knowledge. Students typically lose 25-30% of what they learned during the school year during the summer. This fact is only set to be worse considering the substantial shift that occurred in learning environments in late March of 2020. Students did not even cover the entirety of the curriculum they were supposed to, so not only do children have to combat the loss of knowledge that stems from summer but they also must begin the school year with a significant portion of their education missing.
Parents are thus met with a precarious and difficult situation. Should they sacrifice their own work in order to ensure that their child does not fall behind? Parents want the best for their children, but this is an especially difficult situation parents are faced with.
Moreover, this predicament disproportionately impacts women as they are often viewed as the parent responsible for children. With wage gaps already occurring after women have children, forcing women to take time off to educate their children only worsens the inequality at hand. The solution to this problem remains obscured; if coronavirus continues to be widespread, there are limited options for working parents to implement.