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Rural Teachers

Online Rural Teaching Questions

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Grant Meth Grant Meth 410 Points

My name is Grant Meth and I am a preservice teacher at Wartburg College. I am a Physical education major with endorsements in 5-12 Science and Health. I am assuming that I will end up at a smaller school with the resume I am building. I have spoken with some other teachers who taught at rural, multiple county schools about what they had to do in remote learning. For example, he shared they had to take buses to all of the different towns with wifi hotspots for all of the students without internet access. 

I am just wondering what are some of the problems rural school districts have ran into with remote learning and the solutions that they have come up with for them? 

Hello Grant, 

Remote learning is the challenge as a result of this COVID-19 pandemic, and I believe it is a real problem for those students that live in rural areas. As you mentioned problems can be solved, for example, the each school had to start counting how many students had access to laptops or computers at home in order to get prepared and buy the necessary chrome laptops to install the different softwares needed to access school content. Each student that did not had one was to get one provided by the school. Different forms needed to be signed by parents and students are required to take well care of the laptops because those might be needed to be returned at the end of the school year. Also, access to internet is hard in rural areas, something that happened is that the rural area provided free internet spots and companies as Sprectrum in my area provided free internet for students.

 

Lauren Stafford Lauren Stafford 210 Points

I went to a rural highschool, and some of the main problems that our district faced was not everyone having the proper internet connection. While it is difficult for educators to help with this problem, we have to acknowledge that not everyone may have Wifi and we must make the accomodations for these students so that they can still participate!

Latayvia Green Latayvia Green 545 Points

Hi Grant, 

I'm currently conducting my residency in a rural school district, and I found that remote learning and teaching remotely have been a challenge among the lack of internet access. Educators had to relearn and adapt to the students they were servicing. Some challenges I've experienced as a mom and educator was that the students would log on. However, there wasn't a guarantee that they were obtaining the information. Or the educators were placing meaningless assignments online for the students to complete. Now that we've returned to school for face-to-face instruction, data has proven that the students are behind two or more grade levels of learning. Remote learning was a challenge for those who didn't have the necessary equipment. Those who required additional help while attending school struggled because they lived with an elderly relative who couldn't assist adequately due to advanced technology or lack of education. I recall our school district had buses to different areas with wifi hotspots for the students. 

The solution to it all was the district partnered with Verizon, and they supplied complimentary hot spot devices to families needing internet. At the beginning of the school year, parents complete a form requesting a hotspot. The district also provides the students iPads (Pre-K-2nd), Chromebooks/ Hp (3rd-12th). In the case we have to return to virtual learning, the students will have what they need. The students are then issued a device with instructions on connecting, etc. At the end of the school year, all devices are returned. 

To combat the struggle with virtual learning, the district offers professional development for educators on specific apps used for the school year. As new apps are added, they offer tutorials at the beginning for students. 

Michelle Phillips Michelle Phillips 4790 Points

I have been teaching in rural schools now for 6 years. Access to internet is a real problem. We started by looking at the scale of the problem - how many students had devices? (not phones), how many students had access to the internet?. Once we had this data we worked with the community and the internet providers to raise enough money to get students each a device - iPads and MacBooks depending on grade level. Local community centers, stores, churches were all willing for our students to use an open Wifi at their sites - makes good business sense too. There were a few students who did not have internet and did not have transport - we found grant money to support these individuals to get Wifi into their homes. It is a community effort but there was a lot of support for the project and we are well on the way to ensuring equity of access for all our students. I wonder if there are other rural teachers who have other strategies that worked. 

Grant Meth Grant Meth 410 Points

Thank you for sharing! I think this really shows that it does take a village to raise a child. It is really nice to see that local businesses are willing to help students in any way that they can. I think it is really is amazing what is possible when an entire community pitches in to help all students learn and strive to reach their goals. 

I understand that having a reliable Wi-Fi its not that easy at rural areas, especially in those where students are economically disadvanateged. My question is how can teachers ensure that students have access to a reliable internet now that distance learning is occuring? Are teachers aware of all the options that parents have? Are teachers providing this type of information to parents?

Elly Kumbusky Elly Kumbusky 200 Points

Hi there! 

I am currently student teaching in a rural school, and like others have said before, internet connection is a struggle that many are having, and there is really no easy way to solve it. Although this doesn't pertain to the online teaching aspect of the question, another struggle that I have seen throughout my placement is that it is so difficult to find substitute teachers. My district doesn't pay subs as much as some surrounding districts, so we're finding that it is extremely hard to find fill-ins. We even had to have our principal teach a third grade class all day last week because they couldn't find a substitute. I wonder if this is a problem that many other rural schools are finding themselves in, or just my district. 

Mark Steven Mark Steven 50 Points

nice post

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