Benzie County Teachers, Parents Adjust to Remote Learning
Peter Milne is a second grade teacher at Lake Ann Elementary. He’s been teaching students mostly through platforms like Zoom and Google Classroom.
“This week what I kind of have transitioned into is shooting videos on my phone kind of explaining what I want the kids to do and then along with that on Google Classroom I’ll put a link to a lesson, or activity or game I want them to do after I show them what do do,” said Milne.
Marc Alderman also teaches in the Benzie Central School District and has been using a digital platform. Both he and Milne are navigating the challenge of teaching remotely in a rural area.
“So far I’ve primarily used Google Classroom, but we’re really tracking closely who’s responding, who’s able to log in, who even has that technology at home. Benzie County has some rural areas where WiFi signal, or cell phone signal isn’t that great,” said Alderman.
But both teachers say the biggest challenge has been not physical being with their students.
“One of those things as a teacher that I pride myself on is kind of moving around the room and seeing when kids are struggling and being able to get in with them right there and deal with those struggles,” said Milne.
“Without that immediate back and forth it makes it really difficult to respond in that moment to what the kids need for learning, and right now even more so than what they need for learning, what they need to help them get by,” said Alderman.
And its not just teachers making some big changes, parents are having to adjust as well.
One parent from the Benzie Central School District says the transition to home learning has not been as difficult as some might have expected.
They said the teachers were already using some of the technology in the classroom which has made bringing it home easier.
Parents say they’re learning just as kids are right now.
” I think parents shouldn’t be too hard on themselves. Anytime that they’re spending with their kids, whether it’s reading a book, playing a game, taking them outside, going for a bike ride, all of those things are wonderful learning experiences for kids,” said parent Christy Case.
Parents say they’re thankful for all the work schools and teachers are putting in to making sure lessons find their way home.