Carrie Ann Photography

Kadoka Area School District teachers share what they are doing during COVID-19 shutdown

Classrooms will be empty from coast to coast in the coming weeks as the novel coronavirus spreads and officials say indefinite closures are a real possibility.
If schools were to shut down long term, one of the greatest challenges for teachers, officials and school administrators would come down to ensuring all students have equal education opportunities and that their food and housing security is not put in jeopardy.
Here are some answers I got from interviewing 20 Teachers:
Teresa Shuck 
AP Coordinator/Drama; Yearbook; Senior 
Class Advisor
Teaching virtually is a challenge, but she meets with her students online so she can see their faces. Mrs. Shuck misses them terribly. The situation isn’t ideal, but it is necessary and working ok at this time. 
For her, the transition was pretty painless as they have been utilizing Microsoft tools for several years now, so switching was not to taxing. 
When asked if Mrs. Shuck is able to keep her day as structured/scheduled, she responded “My day is the same as far as getting grades entered and preparing lessons to be watched online. There are so many things to do, it is easy to keep to schedule.”
“I miss my students – all of them! I don’t like that I cannot see them every day and see how they are doing or if they need anything. I would rather have them here, even when they are crabby, then not see them every day. I also miss seeing the students I DON’T have in class in the hallways.” 
Mrs Shuck misses her students really bad. She wants to let her students know that She cannot wait until next year when things get back to normal!! 
One Positive thing that has come from being home is that Colby and her have done more things with their kids. They have family movie time, play games, have dinner together and their house is MUCH cleaner and more organized. 
Renee Schofield
Midland K-2 Teacher
When asked how teaching virtually is going for her, she responded, “I really don’t like pictures of myself or videos with me in them so teaching through an app has been an adjustment, but it is getting easier. We are using Zoom as part of our Literature study (Flat Stanley).  Most of the kids have been able to join.  The first week, the kids made a Flat Ms. Schofield.  The parents were amazing and took pictures to share what the kids are doing in their daily lives with their Flat Ms. Schofield.  (Zoom allows me to share the pictures on my screen so everyone can see what each student is doing.) They each sent 3 letters to other friends/family.  As those come back, we will share the new information on Zoom and map where they have all gone. Two of my grades have been working on measurement, so we are also working on using recipes and cooking to practice those skills.  I will compile those recipes into a class cookbook.”
As for everyone I’m sure, the transition was difficult.  Shes not going to say that things are perfect, but that they are giving it their best. 
When asked if Mrs. Schofied is able to keep her day as structured/scheduled, she responded. “What are those things???  We do have scheduled Zoom meetings, but that is the only scheduled thing I have.  I am available to parents/students when questions arise whether it be 7:00 a.m. or 7:00 p.m. “ 
She REALLY misses her students!  She know that for their safety being home currently is best. Mrs. Schofield wants her students to know that she wishes they were here!
One positive thing that has come from being home is that the teachers are still reporting to their schools on a daily basis.  They have been planning for packets to go home and communicating with their students and their families.
Claire Beck
Interior 4-6 Teacher
When asked how teaching virtually is going for her, she responded, “I’m starting to figure it out. Its not perfect by any means, but I am getting better at it.  I have figured out how to make videos for my students each day to help them complete their math and reading assignments, and most of the kids seem to be using them. I have also figured out how to use zoom, which allows me to video chat with my students daily.”
The transition is Messy. This experience was completely new to all of them. They didn’t have time to practice. No one modeled this process for them or prepared them for this. So, yeah it was messy at first, but Ms. Beck thinks what made it easier for her was the support from all the staff and the Interior parents. It was not an easy transition for teachers, kids, or parents, and shes grateful that our parents and kiddos have been so understanding throughout this whole process. 
When asked if Ms. Beck is able to keep her day as structured/scheduled, she responded, “I don’t have a set schedule because my students call in whenever they need help, so I just do my best to schedule planning, meetings, copying, packet organizing, checking emails, and video making around them.  But usually Mondays and Tuesdays are spent planning packet activities.  Wednesdays are when I grade all the packets that have been turned in. Thursdays are spent prepping and organizing the packets for the following week in the morning, and then in the afternoon is usually when I make my videos. I typically spend 1.5 -2 hours a day video chatting and calling students.” 
Ms. Beck is feeling Frustrated, this isn’t what she signed up for when she went into teaching. She feels like she can’t do her job 100% because she doesn’t get to meet with her  students in person.  Ms. Beck stated that she can’t provide them as much help as she normally could.  She doesn’t know how to create engaging learning experiences for every subject that can fit into a packet and all of that is frustrating.
Going to school without students is like going to a zoo with no animals.  Its boring and lonely without them.  She wants them to know that she miss having them here at school, and that video chatting with them is the best part of her day.
One positive thing that has come from being home is that we have still been working at school Monday through Thursday. But as far as being home on the weekends, I have had plenty of time to do some spring cleaning, so I guess that’s a positive.  
Maribeth Roghair
Kadoka 3rd Grade Teacher
When asked how teaching virtually is going for her, she responded, “Virtual teaching has been a learning curve for many. The main part in teaching is the interaction you have between your students and you, the teacher, not having our students here in person is very difficult. I am very thankful for the ability to use programs such as zoom to meet with my students and see their smiling faces and hear their voices!”
The whole way of planning and preparing has changed since they have gone to virtual teaching. They are busy planning and preparing packets for all students to complete during the week. They are trying to find creative ways to reach their students without really being with them. It takes time to think and plan how they are going to get their instruction across to students, being mindful that the teachers are not right there with them as they are completing their work. It makes us realize how much teaching occurs during the day that is so natural that we don’t think of it as really teaching, but now that the teachers don’t have their kiddos here with them, they notice it. 
When asked if Mrs. Roghair is able to keep her day as structured/scheduled, she responded,  “Our days continue to be structured, just in a different way. I have zoom meetings planned with my students during the days throughout the week. We are busy planning and preparing packets and work for our students. We are also grading and giving feedback to our students once they turn their work back in. We are answering calls and emails from parents and students. It may not be structured in the same way as when we have our students here with us, but in between our online meetings, phone calls, and emails, we are busy doing all the behind the scene things we need to do to keep the learning going for our students.”
How are you feeling about school not being in session? Mrs. Roghair replied “I hate it! Hate is a strong word, but it’s the truth. I would give anything for things to go back to normal and have my students back in the building with me. It saddens me to think of everything I am missing with my kiddos. The end of the year is always a fun time, and we are missing those memorable activities. The lack of closure with my students this year is also going to be harder than you would think. My job is for my students, not having the biggest piece of my job here is terrible.”
She wants her students and ALL the students to know they are missed! It is not the same here with out them. Also, wants to tell them thank you for working so hard at home for her. She knows it is different and not the same as being here at school, but she is proud of how they are adapting to this new situation and working hard during a difficult time. Keep it up and she can’t wait to see everyone back in school in the fall!
One positive thing that has come from being home is that The students may be at home, but I am not. Teachers and staff have been here working normal hours every day since school has been closed.
Michelle Mansfield &
Nichole Thompson
Kadoka Middle School 
When asked how teaching virtually is going for them, they responded, “Teaching virtually has been very difficult to get used to.  We have had to throw away how we present material and come up with a new way to do it, so students are still getting the information. Teachers are working harder than ever.  We have spent hours making videos for students to view, so they are getting the information. I am meeting with students weekly to discuss the books we are reading and answer any questions they might have. There has been a learning curve to teaching a new way and learning a new way for both the students and the teachers.”
The transition was rough. In one day, they had to change everything and revamp how they educate their students.  I would say teachers rose to the challenge and immediately started coming up with different ways of reaching their students. It hasn’t been easy for teachers, students or parents, but they are working through it.
When asked if they are able to keep their day as structured /scheduled, they responded, “It’s a different schedule and structure than we are used to, but yes, we keep to a schedule. Teaching this way requires a lot more planning and takes more time to prepare.” 
They understand the reason, but its really hard to not have kids here. Their jobs depend on the kids being with them, so this has definitely been challenging for all involved. They want to let the students know that they Miss them and wish they were here!!
One positive thing that has come from being home is that actually, the teachers in Kadoka Area School District have been working at their schools since the closure began.  We have the option to work from home starting the week after Easter, so I guess I don’t know the answer to that question.

The Pioneer Review

221 E. Oak Street
Philip, SD 57567
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