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Anna Perry

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Anna Perry

The foundation for distance learning: building community

I had just found my “groove” as a teacher and was starting to have fun with teaching and not always worrying about how I was applying the different things I was learning this year! Suddenly, I’m trying to plan engaging lessons for online learning without knowing the learning environment my 33 students are in at home. I’m trying to stay connected, worrying as they tell me about their troubles and concerns and drastically changed sleep schedules. I think that’s been the hardest. How do I support students when I can’t physically do anything to help? 

Overall, the one thing I’ve taken away from this pandemic is the absolute necessity of building a strong community in a classroom. I don’t think online learning would be going as well for me as a student or as a teacher if I hadn’t had the chance to build community before the schools closed. My students already know they can trust me, so they are more comfortable opening up, asking for help, or even admitting they missed class because they overslept. I don’t even know what this online learning would look like if there wasn’t a strong community foundation to support it. 

Anna Perry is a master’s student in Stanford’s teacher education program. She teaches U.S. history at Fremont High School in Sunnyvale, California.

June 1, 2020

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