PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Students in Pittsburgh Public Schools have been in virtual learning for almost two weeks.
Teachers say online learning has gone well, but they’ve had some bumps in the road. Teachers Adam Holy and Sean Means say it has gone as well as it could.
“It’s definitely been a learning curve for our entire team, but I think we’re getting better each and every day,” Means told KDKA.
Means teaches history and social justice at Westinghouse Academy, and Holy teachers science at the Pittsburgh Gifted Center. One of the biggest challenges that teachers face is connecting with students through a screen. Some students also haven’t been turning on their cameras.
“It’s hard as a teacher to look at an icon when you teach a student that you’ve never met before and trying to learn who they are without seeing their face,” Holy said.
Both said there are a few students they see who still don’t have devices for learning, but it’s significantly lower than just a couple weeks ago.
“There might be some other schools in different situations, but I would say we’ve been pretty good about getting a steady stream of devices in,” Means said over Zoom.
So far, the two teachers agree that students are still learning their material as teachers troubleshoot problems, including internet connections.
“We have to keep reminding ourselves that it’s OK to make mistakes, that we’re all learning. To the students’ credit, they have been fantastic about being patient with us,” Means said.
Moving forward, they feel virtual learning will not replace in-school instruction but adding devices to the classroom will help students.
“Brick and mortar is the best way. A blend of technology would be great, too,” Holy told KDKA.
The district plans to start in-person classes on Nov. 5 with hybrid learning. It will be an AA/BB schedule. Means and Holy want more information from the administration about how this will work.
“The most challenging piece is what are we going to do virtually when our students need us?” Holy said during the Zoom call.
Their fear is students at home not getting the same help that students in the classroom are getting. They said outside of school, teaches have been working together to learn more about the programs they are using.