Minnesota teachers adapting to challenges of distance learning

Teachers are adjusting during the school closures to keep connected with their students.

The school day is looking a lot different these days. Face-to-face contact is out, creative ways of connecting are in.

“This week has been pretty positive given a dark situation, we’ve made the best of it,” said kindergarten teacher Chelsea Block.

Distance learning kicked off this week for some districts in the state, including Prior Lake Savage Area Schools.

“I think technology, that’s been the hardest thing, but also being away, being away from our kiddos,” said Block.
Block believes good communication, however that looks, will make this work.

“Parents we’re here and your kids are our lives, we want to do whatever we can to support you,” said Block.

Other districts, like St. Paul and Minneapolis, are on spring break and haven’t started distance learning yet. Teachers there are preparing,

“We want to just make sure we are getting connected with families, so when we do launch distance learning there isn’t that worry or panic of, ‘Oh my kiddo can’t log on or we haven’t tried this yet,’” said Jennifer Cariveau, a first grade teacher with St. Paul Public Schools.

Cariveau has already been reaching out on the online learning platform her students will be using, but hasn’t been able to get all her families logged on and running.

“So far that has been one of the things that has been a little trickier for me, I know that this is a hard time for everyone right now,” she said.

She wants to make sure families know, teachers are here for them for whatever they need.

“If there’s a barrier with Wi-Fi, let me know and I can help you find resources or if your family’s focus is on we need food, reach out and I’ll help you, so we can remove the barriers and you can focus on the education piece,” she said.