COVID19 Diaries: Tackling the Distance Learning Curve in OhioApril 3, 2020
By Dr. Tiffany Tynes Curry (OH ’16)
When COVID-19 closed Columbus City Schools, transformation coach Dr. Tiffany Tynes Curry (OH ’16) knew there would be a learning curve for teachers new to online instruction. She didn’t realize some district educators didn’t even have Internet access at home.
The culture of teaching and the customs of schools have transformed vastly over the last few weeks. The unexpected and sudden switch to remote learning has complicated my role as a transformation coach for Columbus City Schools. I provide professional development and support school improvement plans, instructional strategies, teacher-based teams, building leadership teams, coaching cycles and model lessons.
With schools closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, I find myself forced to quickly adjust to the new rhythm of at-home coaching. We have daily meetings to discuss virtual support, including laptop distribution, Internet access for students, and online learning platforms. From these meetings, more questions arise.
Educators are charged with preparing all students for the global and technological advancements of the 21st century, so it was shocking to discover that there are teachers within our large urban public school district who lack Internet access and/or devices to support remote instruction.
After this came to light, I reached out to a few of the teachers I support to inquire about their current plan of action. Their responses were similar: They hadn’t gotten any clear direction. These teachers were left in limbo, researching every online platform available. Our district temporarily hit pause as the curriculum team feverishly devised a plan of action to serve our 51,000 students. As of next week, Columbus teachers will have a robust online learning platform to serve students in every grade and academic area.
As you enter the foreign territory of remote learning, how have your school and district addressed this new challenge? What inequities have surfaced? What new knowledge and experience have you gained? What an amazing opportunity we have as educators to contribute to a national conversation that addresses the problem and builds collective efficacy.
This trial will not destroy us. It is inspiring to read countless stories of educators banding together and using this pandemic as a springboard to do our most exceptional work for our students. We are in this together.
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