How COVID-19 taught me to embrace curiosity and change (a working parent’s journey)
When I returned from parental leave earlier this year, I was back in the office. Getting stuff done, having uninterrupted cups of coffee and breaks – I loved being back at work and, more importantly, back at UTS Careers. When COVID-19 rudely hit our Australian shores, affecting our self-assured 2020 plans, I suddenly experienced the five stages of grief and was very much in denial about working from home and, in particular, teaching from home (I teach an award-winning undergraduate science elective 69500 Career Management for Scientists).
Suddenly, within a very short time-frame I had to put a whole subject online! The very idea of putting an entire collaborative career development based subject online seemed nigh impossible. How could it be done? How could my wonderful teaching staff engage our students as effectively online as they had done previously in person? I couldn’t comprehend how such a challenge could be overcome. On top of this, I was working out of my 4 year old daughter’s bedroom and was surrounded by pictures of Elsa and piles of folded laundry. This did not bode well for a professional environment or space. But I was determined to try and find a solution, amongst the chaos of boxes of nappies.
I found my feet and I started to take one step at a time, dabbling in various educational platforms, speaking to my educator-peers who had already taken the plunge and up-skilled themselves. I found myself designing curriculum to be taught in the online space, discovering new skills for myself and for my teaching staff. Once the teaching semester was well under away, the penny (or dollar) dropped: we were teaching ONLINE! Yes, it had required me to give new things a go and I definitely had a couple of technical hiccups along the way, but my curiosity was what was actually guiding me.
I went from never having had taught online before, to massively upskilling in different learning educational software tools such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Loom and Kaltura within a couple of months.
As I look back at these past months, I am so proud of all that we have achieved.
To all the parents who are either studying, or working from home – I SEE YOU. To all the students studying remotely, I SEE YOU. 2020 has been a life-changing one for us all and will inevitably make us stronger and more employable individuals for the future.
Featured image courtesy of Unsplash
By Helena Asher-Chiang
Helena Asher-Chiang is an experienced Careers Consultant who has been working with UTS Careers for half a decade. In her past life she worked as a Teacher, a Recruiter and Human Resources Professional. She delights in helping students to discover their own potential and loves speaking with strangers about their dreams, aspirations and working lives.