If not teaching, there’s always the lumber mill

Posted May 13, 2020

When the coronavirus pandemic was just beginning to be in the public eye, I was in the process of quitting a job and starting a new one at a café in River Falls as a hostess.

I worked for only two weeks, just enough time to learn who the regulars were, meet the employees and understand the duties of my job. But as soon as I got the hang of things, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers ordered restaurants and bars to close their dining rooms. On top of that I was already so overwhelmed with switching to online classes.

No longer having a job meant that I had to move back home to work and save money to pay bills.

Typically, when I go home for summer vacation or winter break, I work 50 hours a week at a lumber mill. Initially, my plan was to go back home and work these hours while trying to fit in enough time to do my schoolwork well. I live in a very small town with a population around 300, so there are very few job opportunities for me there. I expressed my concern to my mom about the possibility of not being able to get my classwork done in time. Thankfully, she offered to pay me to help my sister with her schoolwork.

Piper is in kindergarten this year. Just as these changes have been stressful for me, it has been challenging for my mom to work all day and come home to be a temporary kindergarten teacher. I was more than happy to take on the job and stay home rather than working at the lumber mill.

It’s been challenging, however, and I can certainly say I have a new-found appreciation for all the teachers in the world. Though it seems simple to teach a child to read or do addition, there is so much more that goes into teaching them so that they truly understand what they are learning. By the time we can get through Piper’s homework each day, I have to struggle to be motivated to do my own.

However, with the state of the world, I am very thankful to have this chance to “work from home,” and make time for my own schoolwork as well.