TULSA, Okla. — Tackling school from home may seem like a huge obstacle for parents, students and teachers alike.
But, Stephanie Kendrick-Harrison has been teaching virtually since before the pandemic and is a parent to an online learner, so she knows the road blocks many will face this school year.
Her daughter joined Oklahoma Connections Academy six years ago.
She said the best thing for parents and students to do to be successful every year is get connected with the teacher.
Just know that your teacher is still there, they still love you, they still want to be able to give you a hug.
With that connection, it's easier to ask questions throughout the lesson and stay on track throughout the year.
“Don’t be afraid to ask a question, or type a question in the chat pod or whatever the teacher is using, in that format,” Kendrick-Harrison said.
Kendrick-Harrison also recommends students start a routine that works for them that may include adjustments for the entire family.
“It’s okay if you do school at night, if you know that your child is more active in the morning, talk to your boss about coming in a few hours late, and getting a few lessons done," Kendrick-Harrison said.
She recommends to not spend an entire day in front of your computer.
“Organize the time blocks into thirty and fifty minute segments, and then, as I tell my students, take a pee break, go walk your dog, go jump on the trampoline for ten minutes, and then come back and do another thirty to fifty minute block,” Kendrick-Harrison
For teachers preparing to teach from home for the first time, Kendrick-Harrison said it will take time to find a rhythm.
For example, she teaches one group lesson a week, and does daily one on one sessions with all of her students.
This gives her plenty of time to keep track of their progress in the class.
When internet issues come up, she handles them accordingly.
"One year, I was doing one on one assessments with a student at the beginning of the school year, I power pointed it, simple," Kendrick-Harrison said. "I had my picture up in the top hand corner, and I ended up having to turn it off because it was a five minute delay just for him to see what was on the power point. I ended up discovering, they didn’t have the best internet service, so we had to talk about finding something a little more higher speed. So, I know that’s a struggle that some students are facing now.”
For parents, Kendrick-Harrison recommends preparing a schedule for each child in the home.
Sharing computers may have to be an option, so she said be prepared.
“I know we have high school students who work, so they come home in the evenings," Kendrick-Harrison said. "They watch the live recordings that they missed during the day, send web mails to their teacher, and then try to make time during the day to make a phone call.”
She also recommends talking to your employer to make sure they are aware of your situation, so if parents have to come in late, that needs to be communicated.
“They still need that little bit of extra instruction from their learning coach, staying on schedule, having that routine, but with that schedule it varies from student to student,” Kendrick-Harrison said.
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