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Lessons Learned: Remote Learning Successes And Challenges

Matthew Tuttle
Morris Jeff Community School teacher Matthew Tuttle teaches his fifth grade class from home. He decorated his dining room with items from his classroom so it would be familiar to students.

Matthew Tuttle, a fifth grade teacher at Morris Jeff Community School, has mixed feelings about his experience leading virtual classes over the past few months, since the coronavirus forced the closure of public schools across the state.

In an interview with The Lens in late May, he said he was glad he could offer his students something resembling a live classroom, via teleconference. It provided a bit of normalcy in an abnormal time.

“As unreliable as everything was, school was still there in some form,” Tuttle said.

During the closure, he said, some of his students’ independence “flourished.”

“I saw a lot of kids grow in their self management skills and working independently and time management,” he said. “They stepped up and learned stills that are sometimes so hard to teach in the classroom.”

But virtual learning also brought challenges, like students and teachers not being able to easily read each other’s body language. Relationships are a pillar of learning, Tuttle said.

“It still feels so painful when I’m just talking to 20 muted microphones. I can’t hear laughter after a joke. I can't hear groans after I give an assignment,” Tuttle said. “That doesn't just take a toll on students’ learning, that takes a toll on my spirit as a teacher.”

After rising COVID-19 cases forced a two-month remote learning experiment, parents and educators are now reflecting on the emergency virtual and paper-packet lessons implemented after the virus shuttered schools and how to improve them should the return to school this fall be online.

Read the full story at The Lens.

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