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Posts tagged ‘distance learning’

Survey: Tell Us About Distance Learning Inequities

photo-of-girl-smiling-while-holding-tablet-computer-4144103Teachers are rising to the challenge and educating their students in the most extraordinary circumstances.

As disruptions to daily life continue, teachers are doing all they can to help ease the transition for students and families. The move to distance learning has exposed huge inequities among our school districts and often between students in the same district.

We want to hear about those equity gaps. What are your students and their families facing?

Take Survey ►

Some students don’t have laptops or Internet service. Others face food insecurity or issues related to health and safety. Please take a few minutes to tell us what is happening in your district. We want to hear how these issues are impacting teaching and student learning. Your answers can help us shape decisions regarding the reopening of schools.

The survey is completely anonymous. You do not have to identify yourself, unless you would like to provide contact information to discuss these issues further.

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on how the pandemic is impacting public education.

Funniest Home Videos—Teachers Share Trials, Tribulations, Tips, and True Stories from Distance Learning

A virtual forum hosted by CEA brought elementary school classroom teachers, special education teachers, media specialists, literacy coaches, school social workers, and others together to share tips, tricks, and challenges—and a few laughs—related to distance learning.

Among the hurdles teachers reported:

  • “Different schools and districts are comparing themselves to each other, but we don’t all have the same capacity and resources.”
  • “If we have to do this in the fall, we need time—teachers need time, teams need time—to really plan and make this work. We are already finding ourselves working long days and nights, often until 11 p.m.”
  • “The level of documentation for special education teachers is through the roof. It took me four hours to update my assignment log and parent contact log. I’m working 10-to-14-hour days, seven days a week. It’s a good thing my own children are grown, but many of my colleagues also have school-age children at home.”
  • “Some Facebook groups have become pretty hostile, so set your boundaries.”
  • “One student told me she left her apartment yesterday for the first time in eight weeks. How can that be good?”
  • “My own son has regressed a little bit during this time, needing me—his parent—around all the time.”
  • “I’m afraid we’re either going to see a zillion new referrals for special education in the fall or none at all. And neither is a good scenario.”
  • “Student engagement has not been tackled or figured out, so grading is going to be a challenge.”
  • “There is a huge difference in live versus asynchronous learning within and among districts. Some districts have legal guidance prohibiting certain things, such as live video conferencing, while others allow it. There’s no consistency.”
  • “As a school media specialist, I’ve been on the tech end of it, rolling out Chromebooks, figuring out how to get them handed out, helping students and parents learn how to use them, getting families access to Wi-Fi. Not every parent or child has the same facility with technology. Not every family has the same access.”
  • “I had a parent say this about his student: ‘I had no idea he would be like this. I am so sorry.’”
  • “You can definitely tell that some students are getting a lot of help from parents while others are left on their own.
  • “In the beginning, we were told that we didn’t have to track students’ assignments, but now we are having to track all of this and to pick standards for grading first-graders with all these varying degrees of help at home.”
  • “Sometimes you are seeing students who were having trouble composing a complete sentence and are now submitting whole opinion pieces with an introduction, body, and conclusion. I had a parent admit to me that she’s been doing all of her second-grader’s work all week.”
  • “What is this going to look like in September, if we are still doing virtual learning and I have five-and six year olds that I don’t know? At least with this class, I had more than half the school year to get to know these little ones. I just am so concerned about what’s going to happen when these very young children are new to this, and I’ve never met them and have to teach them this way.”

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Education Commissioner Addresses What’s Next for Public Education

Hundreds of teachers tonight heard answers to some of their biggest questions about how public education will move forward in Connecticut, as the state begins looking at a possible phased-in reopening of businesses, schools, and other facilities and services.

How will teachers and students be protected? Will distance learning continue even as schools reopen? What happens if someone at school has COVID-19 symptoms?

These were just a handful of the many questions posed to State Department of Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona, Deputy Commissioner of Academics and Innovation Desi Nesmith, and Deputy Commissioner of Educational Supports and Wellness Charlene Russell-Tucker during a live, hour-long webinar hosted by CEA and AFT Connecticut.

CEA President Jeff Leake and AFT Connecticut President Jan Hochadel acknowledged members of both unions for taking time after a full day of teaching to join the webinar and make their questions and concerns heard, and Dr. Cardona thanked teachers for continuing to engage students academically and provide emotional connections while also caring for their own families and loved ones.

Highlights from tonight’s Q&A with Commissioner Cardona and his staff follow. Watch for a full video to be posted to cea.org in the coming days. Read more

Survey: Distance Learning Taking a Toll on Teachers

According to a new survey from CEA, AFT Connecticut, and WFSB Channel 3, distance learning is causing stress and overwhelm for teachers, whose workload has increased.

Watch WFSB’s report from last night, and tune in tonight and Wednesday at 11 p.m. for more special reports on how students and teachers are handling the transition to distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

We’re in This Together

During these challenging times teachers are going above and beyond to learn new skills to reach their students. Watch CEA members from around Connecticut describe teachers’ role during this health emergency.

 

More Free Online Training for CEA Members

Sign up for one or all of CEA’s upcoming webinars via the links below. To receive notice of future online training for CEA members, subscribe to BlogCEA.

‘The Big Seven’: Strategies for Healthy Emotion Regulation in Uncertain Times

Thursday, April 9
4 to 5pm

In uncertain times, it is easy to feel out of balance emotionally. Join Dr. Marc Brackett, director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, for a webinar on helpful emotion regulation strategies. Dr. Brackett will discuss how we can address some of the unhelpful ways we deal with our emotions and use evidence-based strategies to achieve greater overall well-being.

The Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence conducts research and offers training that supports people of all ages in developing emotional intelligence and the skills to thrive and contribute to society. The Center works with district and school leaders and educators to support the systemic implementation of social and emotional learning (SEL) and foster SEL skills in all stakeholders.

The goal of the Center’s work is leveraging emotions to create healthier and more equitable, innovative, and compassionate communities. RULER is the school-based approach to SEL developed at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence that is being implemented in over 200 Connecticut schools.

Register now> Read more

CEA President: Connecticut Teachers Are Rising to the Challenge

Teachers are taking on the challenge of educating during a pandemic and are innovating to keep their students learning, CEA President Jeff Leake told WTIC Radio during a recent interview.

“I’ve been a teacher for over forty years in Connecticut, and clearly nothing has ever been in front of me like what’s in front of our teachers right now,” Leake said. “They are rising to the challenge and really stepping up.”

He continued, “I am so admiring of the effort, the intensity, that teachers are putting into this—trying to make sure that, though we can’t replicate the classroom environment, we’re out there trying to make sure that kids are still learning.”

Addressing Governor Lamont’s executive order requiring school districts to continue to pay school staff during the pandemic, Leake said, “Our teachers recognize that schools are education communities. It’s not just about the teachers or the paraprofessionals, it’s about everyone who contributes to the learning of our students.”

Listen to the full interview.

The Etiquette of Video Conferencing: Teacher Shares How to Set Clear Expectations for Secondary Students

Stratford physics teacher Kristen Record after a morning video conference with her AP students.

As learning has moved online in many districts, especially among secondary students, there has been a learning curve for both students and teachers. Video conferencing tools can enhance student-teacher interactions, but only if proper steps are taken to manage security issues and make sure students know how to use the platform appropriately.

Stratford teacher Kristen Record, a physics teacher at Bunnell High School, says she has found video conferencing to be a great teaching tool, given the circumstances, at the high school level. “I get to see my kids’ expressions and have real-time interactions and discussions. It’s also really important for students’ emotional well-being to have time with their class community.”

Video conferencing has been so successful for the 2011 Connecticut Teacher of the Year partly because, before launching into her first online lesson, she made a point to teach students both how to use the platform and the proper etiquette for video conferencing. Read more

CEA Advisor in Your Mailbox This Week

The April CEA Advisor will soon be in your mailbox and is already available online. Get real-time answers about the pandemic’s immediate and longer-term impact on public education, and see the creative, heartfelt, and inspiring ways your colleagues are adapting to new ways of delivering instruction and connecting with their students.

Below is the column by CEA President Jeff Leake, Vice President Tom Nicholas, and Executive Director Donald Williams that appears on page 2 of the Advisor.

Navigating COVID-19: Stronger Together

These are uncertain times. Unprecedented actions are being taken to prevent the greater spread of COVID-19, the coronavirus pandemic, which has caused major disruptions to our lives, our communities, and the world—the likes of which we have never experienced. We are in uncharted territory, with more questions than answers, leaving us all to do our best to mitigate against the effects of the coronavirus. Read more

CEA Guidance for At Home Learning

Every teacher must start with this idea. No one knows how long working at home for teachers and students will last but it could extend to the end of the school year, and we do know that the pressures and expectations of this new paradigm can be overwhelming. That’s why it’s more important than ever to stay healthy and rested:

  • Take regular breaks.
  • Make time to exercise.
  • Keep to a regular sleep schedule.
  • Limit distractions when possible (turn off social media notifications, for example).
  • Set daily and weekly goals.
  • Make time to socialize virtually with family and friends.
  • Limit the time when you can be contacted to ensure you have time to recharge, be with family, and prepare for the next day.
  • Access Employee Assistance Program or other mental healthcare options to help meet any unique challenges.

Links and articles:

Education Week—Here’s How to Prevent Burnout During a School Closure

CNN—How to Work from Home Without Losing Your Sanity

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