AUBURN, Wash. — As students deal with a different kind of start to the school year, the Pitsch family of Auburn offers a unique perspective.
Both Dan and Carli Pitsch are teachers, and together they have three young kids. They say their back-to-school routine requires a balancing act that involves parenting, teaching, and working from home.
This week, classes are scheduled to begin, and the new school year means the family has a new start time.
"We will get up probably as a family at 5 or 5:30," said Carli Pitsch.
The plan is to get the kids ready, and the youngest, 4-year-old Aspen, to preschool around 6:30 in the morning. 5-year-old Piper is enrolled in a half-day program where she can log on to her remote learning.
"My son, Titus, is going to stay home with us for the full day," said Dan Pitsch.
Titus, 7, will learn remotely from home while his dad will teach math classes for Bonney Lake High School. Dan will teach a total of 120 students between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. each day during the school week.
Carli plans to conduct her remote STEM lessons for Sumner Middle School students from her classroom.
"In my middle school, I have roughly 130 kids," said Carli. "The most challenging part in the spring was just figuring out what was too much and what's not enough."
"I think the biggest anxiety I had when it all started back in the spring, and even now, is how can I be a good teacher, but also how can I still be a good parent," said Dan.
They dealt with the difficulties of distance learning as a family and as teachers.
"You get kids with different language barriers, ability, kids with special needs, you have kids who become surrogate parents while parents are at work," said Carli.
Both teachers said their school district has been supportive.
When asked if he is ready for another round of remote learning, Dan answered, "yeah. We're going be okay. You know, luckily, my wife and I make a great team."
"Especially in this climate, I just want to support families. I want to show people grace. I hope I get grace. I know I will need grace as a mom," said Carli.
For the two teachers with three kids, the true lesson is about being positive and persevering.
"Things in life happen sometimes and they're out of your control," said Dan. "So how do we overcome that and push through and make the best of it?"
"It's going to be okay. We're going to get through this together," he continued.