Court hearings by Zoom in one room, second grade PE class by Zoom in another, and a high school math class by Zoom in yet another. This is a typical day at our law office turned school these days.
Why would we convert part of our law office into a school, and invite anywhere from 5-7 kids every day to come and spend the day with us? This is a question a LOT of people have been asking us lately. People can’t seem to decide if we are helpful or crazy. We may be a little of both.
The unusual nature of what we are doing is not lost on us. In what started as a Facebook post showing our office/school conversion developed this week into a front-page article in the Roswell Daily Record, and then into a state-wide story covered by the Albuquerque news station KRQE. That escalated quickly…
So Why Have We Done This?
When we started this law firm three years ago, we established core values that were non-negotiable for us. One of our core values is a commitment to our families—that is, we honor and take seriously our roles as husbands, fathers, wives, and mothers. Our core values don’t change when pandemics hit and life gets complicated—instead it is those core values that guide us in times like these.
When schools were ordered to go entirely virtual, working parents everywhere, including many of our full-time staff, felt the stress of how to balance work with educating their children. Some faced the proposition to work or educate their kids. That is a life-changing dilemma we did not want our staff to face.
This became an opportunity for us to help our staff and reaffirm the importance of our commitment to our families. We decided to convert some of our office space into classrooms and invite our staff to bring their kids to work. We then encouraged our staff to make their children the priority during the day. They have our blessing to sit with their kids in Zoom classes, help with homework, or do whatever is necessary to ensure their kids are taken care of.
This must of course be balanced with their commitment to our clients and their work responsibilities.
Does This Require Flexibility?
Yes, but our staff have done an amazing job of striking a balance. Other staff members that do not have children in school have even stepped up to help fill in gaps as needed. We didn’t ask them to do this, they saw a need and wanted to help. These days it is all-hands-on-deck around here. Just yesterday, I heard staff members gathering to help one child with his fractions homework.
Some days are hard, really hard. We are still figuring all this out and take it a day at a time. There have been late nights of working after kids go to bed, and other “do whatever it takes” efforts to make this work. But it is worth it. We love our staff and want to support them in every way we can. We are all eager for our kids to return to the classroom, but until then we are committed to making this work. Just don’t ask us to help with Geometry.