Homeschooling with twice the amount of students

Lean Longoria has three plans to balance work and children as an educator. Photo courtesy of Leah Longoria

Elementary school shutdowns in Atlanta will require parents to assist their kids with the new online learning systems.

Georgia State alumna Leah Longoria is a high school English teacher and a mother of three. Because of this, she’s essentially handling two education jobs at once. The balance between the two brings challenges, leading Longoria to become overwhelmed.

“It is becoming a lot to handle,” Longoria said. “I was not expecting the virus quarantine to last this long.”

Longoria teaches at Mount Pisgah Christian School, which announced its campus closure on March 13. All three of her children attend the elementary and preschool as well. The two elementary schoolers need separate computers or tablets for classes.

“We quickly had to gather all of our electronics and figure out the demands of each class,” she said. “The teachers are accommodating to technical issues, but the time management for each class is a challenge.”

During the first few days of quarantine, Longoria set a schedule for each kid starting first thing in the morning to bedtime. The schedule maintains the same routine as if the kids were still at school.

“It is important that we keep a schedule because everyone has a specific routine during normal times,” she said.

The main issues for Longoria are caused by her high school students and their focus during online class periods. With the new technology and systems, Longoria said her 16-year-old students are finding new ways to defy school rules. 

Many students simply stopped attending the Zoom sessions. Longoria has seen up to three absences since the campus closure. Students aren’t just missing class; they’re also missing deadlines for assignments daily.

“I understand technical difficulties,” she said. “The missed turn-in times do not make sense because the times were the same as before in regular classes.”

Longoria said she has become more lenient on enforcement for regular infractions. The climate of the constant COVID-19 updates is overwhelming for students and teachers. Students who are close to her expressed the need for guidance in an unprecedented time.

“I want them to feel relaxed as possible while we get through this weird time,” she said. “Many school events that are important to teens in a way saddens them, and many are missing some of their last high school memories.”

Longoria hopes that schools will allow students of all ages to see each other once the school doors are opened once again.