Teachers continue adjusting, adapting to distance learning

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- As students and parents continue to tackle distance learning, the task is also taking a toll on our teachers.

Mrs. Lepe-Vera is still getting used to teaching dozens of students each day from an empty classroom.

"The best part of this job is being together and the connections we make with each other," said Noemi Lepe-Vera. "I absolutely miss them."

The Madera South Social Science teacher says one of the biggest challenges is knowing what her students need when it comes to their learning.

"Not seeing them and not hearing them constantly because they're muted all the time, and even when I ask them to unmute themselves they don't want to," continued Lepe-Vera.

She's also competing to keep their attention while trying to learn from home.

"When you're at home there's a lot of distractions, so those are some of the challenges because I'll see my students having conversations on the side, and I've even seen students cooking in the back," said Lepe-Vera.

But she says she came into the fall semester focused, starting each day well before her students log on.

"I'm starting to grade, I get constant late work so I'm trying to catch up 45 minutes an hour before," added Lepe-Vera.

She learned early on that keeping it simple is crucial.

"I was trying to do this website and go here, go there and it was too much for the students," said Lepe-Vera. "I've decided everything's on one document, I've organized it that way."

They're also utilizing break out rooms to be able to chat with students one on one.

"That way I can have individual conversations. That's the one hard part about not being with them; not finding out what's going on and what they need and what their struggles are," said Lepe-Vera.

As they navigate this new learning model, she hopes it's just a temporary stop in their educational journey, and she can eventually see her roughly 170 students back in the classroom.
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