Teachers and Families Adjust to Distance Learning

Published: Apr. 17, 2020 at 5:18 PM CDT
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Since Laramie County School District 1 (LCSD1) schools have closed their campuses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, distance learning has become the new normal for students and teachers. It forces teachers to teach their students online.

"It's a lot of work trying to figure things out," Kindergarten teacher, lisa Esquibel said. "A lot of technical issues, a lot of communicating with parents, trying to help them troubleshoot."

Classes often communicate through online apps, such as Microsoft Teams. Assignments and links are also sent through email.

"It's been an adjustment, but now I feel like the kids are getting into a good routine," Mandy Brekhus says about her children adjusting to distance learning. "They're able to navigate pretty well through all their classes and grades. They do a good job."

"I think people are familiar with what we're doing now," Esquibel said. "We're all just trying to do the best we can. Teachers are doing the best we can with what we have at home."

However, some students had problems with distance learning at first, expressing the difficulties of receiving feedback right away, and not being in a social environment with their classmates.

"It's harder when you need help during school because you need to message your teachers and then it takes them a while to get back instead of in school them just coming up to you to help you right away," 7th grader at Carey Jr. High School, Abbyson Brekhus said.

"I like being able to work at my own pace, but I do miss my friends. That's the hardest part about not going to school," Junior at East High School, Emma Brekhus said.

It's a day-to-day process for families and teachers to get into the groove of distance learning. Both say they are getting the hang of virtual learning.

"It's kind of hard to have the motivation to start doing your work but once you do it, it's not that bad," Emma Brekhus said.

Overall, parents and students appear to like how the school district is handling teaching material during the pandemic.

"I think it's been a good compromise," Mandy Brekhus said. "Now is not the time to be sending our kids back to school. It's nice that they've been able to set this up in a way that the kids still have access to all their education for this year."

For teachers, they love the effort that their students are willing to put towards their assignments.

"That's definitely the highlight of the week, as their assignments start coming in, to be able to see what they're learning, to be able to see their learning is continuing even though they are at home," Esquibel said. "All we can do is be the best for our students and the best for our families during this time."

According to the director of instruction, Stephen Newton, elementary school students will receive rubric scores for grades, see if they're advanced to advance. For secondary school students, they'll graded based off letter grades. Students and parents can decided if they prefer a letter or a Satisfactory grade instead, at the end of the school year. For students who don't pass, they'll have the chance to finish uncompleted work upon the return to school.