Editor’s Note: The COVID-19 pandemic has forced school districts to adjust the way they educate their students. The Inquirer reached out to local districts to highlight the different ways teachers are reaching out to their kids. Responses have been slightly edited for style purposes.
Karla Hicks is a special education teacher at East Avenue.
What are some ways you’re staying connected with your students online?
I am starting virtual classes on Zoom, along with emailing, texting and calling parents with suggestions to help their children.
What inspired you to stay connected?
I wish I could teach my students in person, but that is not possible right now. They deserve instruction and guidance, so I looked into some virtual learning options. I was able to attend a webinar on Zoom. After completing the webinar, the instructor has continually offered support and ideas, along with a team of teachers offering their thoughts. I feel confident that Zoom will provide my students a safe learning environment.
Why do you feel it was important for you to stay connected to the kids this way?
I want my students to know that I’m still here for them. Even though we’re not actually in East Avenue, I can still provide them instruction and let them know I care about them.
How is your workspace setup at home? Are you using your phone? Tablet? Different lighting?
My children, Abby and Evelyn, are also working from home. They have found desk spaces and I’m in the dining room (the table is much larger than any desk we have). I have brought home many of the supplies I need and the table is completely covered with my things (laptop, books, files, packets, office supplies, etc.) My family knows the table is now “off-limits” and they are eating meals elsewhere in our home.
What’s the one message you wish to convey to others during this time?
I want my students to know that I miss them dearly.
Anything else you’d like to share? Could be a fun behind-the-scenes story, or the difficulties of working from home. Maybe even a photo of a “coworker” (pets, spouses, kids, etc.)
I do have a needy “coworker.” Luna is 9 weeks old and is a Great Pyrenees/Lab mix. She interrupts my work regularly. She brings me toys, chews on my shoes and wants to be entertained throughout my workday. I’m sure Luna will become a regular guest in my Zoom classes.