Connections: Linking Talented Educators
Connections: Linking Talented Educators

Here's Why We Like Distance Learning

September 11, 2020

Marisa Rivas virtual teaching 4x5

COVID-19 has made remote learning a necessity in many districts. Not everyone is excited about teaching in a virtual classroom, but the Milken Educators we asked see many benefits. Click to see what they like about teaching online.

Marisa Rivas virtual teaching quote2

Dr. Marisa Rivas (CA '09)
Sixth grade English | Arrowview Middle School | San Bernardino, CA

“Our middle school students are learning 21st-century skills that will transfer to the workplace, like email and virtual collaboration. I’m so impressed by their adaptability and resilience. Also, I notice students taking more ownership of learning. Many students who’ve historically depended on teachers to hold their hands are taking initiative.”

Tami Lunsford virtual teaching quote

Tami Lunsford (DE ’17)
Biology and marine science | Newark Charter High School | Newark, DE

“I’m most impressed by the excitement of the students when we try something new. They seem genuinely appreciative of the efforts we put in, and that has not always been the case. I also love that I’m now more efficient and focused on exactly what they need and how to get there. Finally, I absolutely love the focus on empathy and compassion. Teachers who may not have been strong in this before are listening to their kids, really seeing where and how they live, and giving them a chance and opportunities to grow.”

Jane Ching Fung virtual teaching quote

Jane Ching Fung (CA '02)
Early transitional kindergarten | Belvedere Elementary School | Los Angeles, CA

“I love working with parents. Students are rising to the challenge and adapting!”

Dan Adler virtual teaching quote

Dan Adler (MA '17)
Sixth grade science | UP Academy Leonard | Lawrence, MA

“There’s a lot to like about teaching online, actually! Google Slides as a collaboration tool. Jamboard as a more permanent question-catching space. Flipgrid for engagement and asynchronous discussion. I have the ability to use content and platforms to differentiate for various learners. The wealth of platforms and content that I can connect kids with is useful.”

Wade Whitehead virtual teaching quote

Wade Whitehead (VA ’00)
Fifth grade | Crystal Spring Elementary School | Roanoke, VA

“The equity divide is more exposed than ever and, in many places, institutions are doing more than they ever have to address it. We are finally listening to what our best educators have been saying for decades: We must ensure that all students have the resources, at home, in their communities and in school, that are required for learning and, ultimately, self-actualization. Virtual classrooms have forced our hands. There is less ambivalence about building bridges to success. That’s a good thing, and I am thankful for it.”

Katherine Shaw virtual teaching quote

Katherine Shaw (CA ’16)
Kindergarten | Washington Elementary School | Bellflower, CA

“As a kindergarten teacher, the parent and teacher partnership has been amazing. The parents are learning strategies while I’m teaching and are involved in their children’s learning. My students have adapted very well and are asking for help when needed.”

Becky Streff virtual teaching quote

Becky Streff (NE ’18)
Fifth grade | North Bend Central Elementary School | North Bend, NE

“As a parent of three school-age children (and a toddler) and a teacher to fifth graders, I was always looking for STEM and other resources to enhance and engage students with the curriculum—and give them something educational to do without having them glued to a screen. I have been very impressed with how many famous authors, people and organizations have provided free content. There are read-alouds, drawing with Mo Williams, and organizations like 4H and Scholastic providing STEM content, home activities and articles. These have become a great resource for me as a teacher, and I now have additional activities to do in the house with my own kids.”

Shannon Garrison virtual teaching quote

Shannon Garrison (CA ’08)
Fourth and fifth grade | Stonehurst STEAM Magnet School | Sun Valley, CA

“I’m seeing meaningful and authentic technology integration, teaming with parents, and finding new and unique tools to add to my teaching repertoire. I also love our districtwide focus on social-emotional learning and the way my students are coming together to help each other troubleshoot tech issues.”


Silvia Miranda virtual teaching quote

Silvia Miranda (NM ’18)
Fourth grade | Mesa Elementary | Clovis, NM 

“I love how easy it is to differentiate my assignments and instruction without students catching on. I can pull in different kids for different reasons each day, and I can easily change a form or a slide to extend for some and reteach for others.”

Sarah Tomic virtual teaching quote

Sarah Tomic (CO ’18)
Instruction coach | Pikes Peak Elementary | Colorado Springs, CO

“I love how we are finally getting students acclimated to frequent computer use, which is going to help prepare them for the future. Our in-person learners are using the same platforms for activities and assignments as e-learners, which means they’re getting daily practice with technology. I also love how it’s challenging our teachers to get out of their comfort zone and learn new things, especially in regard to technology. I think a lot of what we’ve been ‘forced’ to learn (despite the stress and speed bumps along the way) is going to benefit students for years to come.”

Jayda Pugliese virtual teaching quote

Jayda Pugliese (PA ’16)
Principal | St. Mary Interparochial School | Philadelphia, PA

“I love the flexibility of clubs. Hosting a club as a principal is not something I would have time for if we were fully in-person. I am excited to resume my daily sign language club!”

Click here for more about Jayda's sign language club.


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