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Follow the teachers: Adjusting to distance learning

Posted at 6:36 PM, Sep 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-10 12:57:10-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- This week, the Del Mar Union School District and Cajon Valley School District went back to in-person classes. However, most public schools in the county are continuing in distance learning.

“It’s tiring, to say the least,” said teacher Kelly Martin. She teachers in the Chula Vista Elementary School District.

Dawn Harrison also teaches in that district. While she dealt with some technical problems with her first-grade class, she said “it went better than I thought it would go.”

Martin said she has been able to make connections with her students even through a computer screen. She also met virtually with each student one-on-one.

“It’s been a challenge with tech issues outside of our control… people’s cameras aren’t working, people’s microphones aren’t working. I feel like besides being a teacher, I’ve taken on the role of tech support!” Martin said.

ABC 10News first checked in with the teachers at the end of July before the school year started. Since then, Harrison said she has dealt with a rollercoaster of emotions. “Fear, anxiety, stress, a little bit of excitement,” Harrison said.

She’s not the only one in her household dealing with an unusual school year. Her husband, Rick Meads, is a teacher at Eastlake High School.

“I have 160 students or so. I see most of them every day. There are some that are still struggling with access,” Meads said.

He teaches theater, drama, and digital arts. While he said he is missing out on the personal interaction with students, he is adjusting his curriculum.

“Instead of doing a fall play this year, we’re going to do a radio show. They’re writing their own script. It’s going to be a Halloween, scary type of thing,” Meads said.

They all say being in the classroom with their students is easier that distance learning, which involves a lot more preparation.

“I’m definitely working longer hours. The good part is I have no commute,” Martin said.

As far as when they will feel comfortable conducting in-person classes again, there is no definitive answer.

Meads said it will be a challenge to keep social distance between students. “It’s a nightmare thinking of going back unless it’s really safe,” Meads said.

“I really haven’t spent too much time thinking about going back yet. I think I’m so consumed with just staying alive right now!” his wife Dawn said.