Teachers embrace virtual learning during coronavirus


FARMVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — With schools closed statewide, Pitt County teachers are getting creative to make sure students are still learning.

The hallways and parking lots are quiet at Sam D. Bundy and H.B. Sugg Elementary.

“This is not a snow day,” said Matt Daniel, a 5th-grade teacher. “As far as the next two weeks, it’s kind of a wait and see.”

This uncertainty is a new reality of the coronavirus.

“We want to help them. We want to help their kids. We want to keep teaching them,” said Sterling Kirby, a Kindergarten teacher.

For some teachers, utilizing technology to teach isn’t new.

They’ve already integrated tech into the classroom through blended learning.

“The resources I’m giving them now through a virtual classroom, they’re used to using,” said Caryn Scott, a 5th-grade teacher.

Teachers are using Google classroom, virtual reality, Facebook, and other tech to get lessons to students and parents.

“Today, I was going to use my time to teach some lessons that need to be taught that we hadn’t gotten the chance to do, and I was going to post them to our class Facebook page,” said Shamecka Miller, a 2nd-grade teacher.

Those lessons could include identifying the themes of a class novel, measurement, or decomposing numbers.

“We’re giving them challenges. Maybe its read a book to a younger sibling, videotape yourself doing this, or have a parent record you,” said Scott.

For younger students, it’s a little more difficult.

“With Kindergarten, I really have to reach my parents,” said Kirby. “Then hopefully my parents will share with the kids. The upper grades, they already have access to Google classroom and other online platforms where the teachers can share directly to the kids.”

Kids are using the tech too.

They’re able to chat with teachers, ask questions, or show the work they’re doing.

“We’ve talked about accountability the whole year, and them taking that time to really do these assignments well…it literally makes my heart sing,” said Kelsey Phillips, a 5th-grade teacher.

They’re trying to stay positive.

“As teachers, we are natural planners. I already have my plan mapped out for the rest of the year. So, not knowing what’s next is driving me crazy,” said Miller. “Worst case scenario is we don’t come back.”

If that worst-case scenario were to happen, teachers fear some students may fall through the cracks.

“School is a lot more than math, and reading, and instruction,” said Daniel. “Teachers do lots of molding and relationship building, and mentoring, and nurturing. A computer can’t do that.”

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