How I Work Project

How I Work #2: Kelly in Chicago

Welcome to another installment of How I Work!

How I Work #2 introduces Kelly Rokosz, 35, a single stay-at-home mom and educator in Buffalo Grove, Illinois. A former primary grade classroom teacher, Kelly is currently homeschooling her son, 6, who would be in kindergarten, and daughter, almost 4.

Kelly is the site coordinator for the Center for Talent Development at Northwestern University in Chicago. She runs the summer site for a program that creates enrichment classes for academically gifted and talented students. Her job also include lesson plan review and curriculum development during the school year. For fun, Kelly teaches group fitness classes.

I’ve known Kelly for almost ten years. We met when we were both living in Chicago as young professionals. She remembers everything you’ve ever told her, is quick to laugh and smile, and is very patient with my mischievous dachshund. Kelly is organized, thoughtful, and loyal, and I would always take her advice. Read on for her thoughts on how the coronavirus has affected how she works.

How has the pandemic changed your job and how you work?

Kelly’s homeschool materials – drawn from her time as a primary grade classroom teacher – include art supplied, books, and games, as well as the family’s calendar

Since my program [at the Center for Talent Development] decided not to run our spring classes, my spring lesson plan review contract was canceled. Both of my kids’ schools are closed, so we are all home together every day. So I’m dusting off my old teacher hat to help my kindergartner with his e-learning.

What have you done to adjust?

The “loose” homeschool schedule for Kelly’s kindergartner and 4-year-old

I’ve created a loose homeschool routine. We do school for about an hour and a half each morning, then we play the rest of the day. I try to get us outside as much as possible too!

How will these changes affect how you work in the future?

The playroom offers a mix of large-motor, fine-motor, and make-believe activities

My kids’ schools are closed for the reminder of the school year, so I’ll be doing homeschool until the end of May. As of now, my summer program [at the Center for Talent Development] is still running, but that could change. If it does, my role will be very different. Instead of supervising staff directly and working with parents and students in person, I might be facilitating classes for families online. I’m not sure exactly what it will look like!

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned or encountered during this time?

I have been SO IMPRESSED with my son’s school during all of this. His teaches and therapists are communicating daily with me via email, and we have Zoom calls with them several times throughout the week. The plans for school are so well-thought-out and put together, and it’s been a great experience so far.

Many thanks to Kelly for sharing her experience and insights and for supporting the How I Work Project!

What changes have you made to adjust to life and work during coronavirus?

Merci for reading and please subscribe and share!

À votre santé,


About the How I Work Project

The How I Work series on Joie de Vivre highlights how women around the world are adjusting, coping, and working from home during the coronavirus pandemic. It features professionals living in Australia, Turkey, the Netherlands, Germany, Japan, and the United States (from Detroit and Chicago to Alabama and Vermont).

Whether full-time or part-time, entry-level or retired, a student or a stay-at-home parent or an entrepreneur, we are working. And we all have something to share about how the pandemic effects our daily lives.

Sharing individual insights in a positive, constructive space creates a supportive digital community as we weather the storm of COVID-19 together. It also sheds light on the new normal of the collective lived experience of working during the time of coronavirus.


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