Teachers finish year with new technology skills

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Teacher Robin Fakes reminds her students of some key words in a reading comprehension video she posted online. Photo by Leah Fakes

By Leah Fakes

Students and teachers around the globe sure did not get what they signed up for this year.

The COVID-19 pandemic has put a halt to classroom teaching, leaving teachers, among the most essential of workers, educating remotely via computers. This was a new proposal that almost nobody was ready for.

My mother, Robin Fakes, a reading specialist at Lakota Local School District, was in no way prepared to shift to remote learning. It is not just the teachers who weren’t prepared, many students were at a loss, as well.

“Many students lack the proper technology that is required to do the online work,” Fakes said. “There are many families within our district that have multiple siblings in the same house trying to share the same device. It just doesn’t work.”

School districts all over the country are also worried about students missing out on school lunches. Lakota, among many other schools, has been delivering food to students in need during these unprecedented times.

As for teachers, Fakes discusses that many of the “older” teachers struggle with technology.

“It has been very difficult for me to figure a lot of this out. For me, I am used to working with small groups of students, but during this time that is very difficult for me to do.”

It’s a generational thing.

Haley Fakes, my sister and Robin’s daughter, is a first-grade teacher at Lakota. She feels very comfortable with technology. As a 23-year-old first-year teacher, she felt at ease moving her lessons into computer presentations because she has grown up with technology. 

“Throughout my life I have always been comfortable with technology, so I was not worried about that aspect of remote learnings, Haley said. “I have been helping other teachers in my school who are not as technologically savvy as I am. We have all been collaborating and trying to work together to help each other as much as we can throughout these crazy times.”

Both Robin and Haley feel more confident in the remote learning process as it has been progressing this spring. Neither is sure if they will be back in the classroom this fall if the remote learning will have to continue.

“We are being prepared and groomed for this idea by our bosses and superintendent,” Robin said. “This is a strong possibility and by having these last two months of the school year being remote, we feel confident that we could approach the upcoming school year more prepared and ready for the challenges that remote learning throws our way”.

Both teachers say that they really look forward to returning to school once this pandemic is behind them. Both say they love teaching and look forward to seeing their students in person.

Leah Fakes is finishing her junior year at Miami and is majoring in strategic communication and fashion.