Legend High, where she teaches, is a part of Douglas County, one of the first districts in the state to start remote learning after COVID-19 shuttered schools. Districts are increasingly finding that the quality of remote learning is dependent on a family’s income level and a school’s resources. Dougco, with its relative wealth and technological capabilities, was well-positioned to keep student learning going.
Still, the experience teachers like Butler have had with remote learning offers lessons for other districts across the state in how to succeed — and some of the pervasive challenges.
One of Niki Brock’s students wrote to her to say:
“This time started off as boring and not exciting, I wasn’t ready to do any of the work I had been assigned. But once I started I didn’t want to stop, I felt excited to start work in the mornings and I didn’t get bored every time I had to sit behind my computer and do my work.”
Brock says especially now, getting kids’ input on how class is going and how to teach is essential.
“Showing kids that you are using their feedback, their voice in designing this, [like] ‘My teachers are listening to me, just because we’re online now, it doesn’t mean that they’ve stopped listening to me,’” she said.
On Fridays, Brock’s team hosts a virtual team-building call, with five teachers and upwards of 100 kids. Each teacher recognizes two students with a “virtual badge” for going above and beyond, people take turns sharing positive experiences and new hobbies from the week. They play a team-building activity called a kahoot, and end with an open Q&A session. The kids are on mute when they’re not talking, but they can chat questions. Brock has been amazed it actually works. That’s helping her keep a positive attitude.