Virtual classrooms connect Lebanon teachers and students: ‘How can we best serve our students?’

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LEBANON, Ind. – Indiana schools will remain closed until May 1, but teachers are still working in overdrive. They’re finding ways to connect with student through e-learning.

High school teacher Rachel Becker never imagined this would be how she stayed connected to her students.

“You go into this response mode where we figure out what do we need and how do we get it,” said Becker, “How can we best serve our students?”

Now this is her new normal. She explained how her students are continuing their AP work from home and handwriting an essay. It’s an important her students continue to practice their skills, rather than type out their work.

Becker is encouraging her students to take a picture of what they wrote by hand and uploading it through a picture.

“They’re just being incredible in terms of how they are handling this,” Becker added. 

Becker didn’t anticipate how much of a loss it is only communicating virtually and not seeing her students in her classroom.

“We’re experts in reading body language and non-verbal cues and just not having a way to see how they are responding really influences how we give information,” Becker said.

This week, she’s had to guide her students in e-learning from her home office. Recording discussions, so if students aren’t able to listen in, they don’t miss out. Her grading has not stopped and now lesson plans look a bit different. She admits, there’s not much down time.

“I’m trying to use a lot of audio and video, so I’m not forcing more reading on them than they would normally have and just also try to maintain a little bit of connection with them,” said Becker.

It’s an effort the entire district is on board with. The Lebanon Community School Corporation use a platform online where kindergartners up to high schoolers can stay up to date with their schooling.

“Having them experiment with being creators of their content, so whether they are screen casting their own presentation or uploading it that way, of course it’s not the same of being present in the classroom, but it’s pretty close,” explained Jen Todderud, the Director of Communications for Lebanon schools.

Becker asks families to be patient and don’t hesitate to reach out.

 “Try to get the best out of this situation as we’re all trying to find some sort of normalcy in it,” said Becker.

As we’ve mentioned before, be sure to check with your child’s district for instructions on how to spend this time away from school.

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