As educators, students and parents are all getting accustomed to Duval HomeRoom, we reached out to the 2020 Florida Blue Duval County Teacher of the Year Leena Hall-Young to find out what parents can do to help. Ms. Hall-Young teaches English Language Arts at Raines High School, and she reached out to some of the other teachers at her school to compile answers to the following questions.
How are things going for you so far?
Things are going great. The students are beginning to adjust to the online platform with the exception of scheduling and the appropriate use of language and online etiquette.
This is a new role for parents! What is your advice for how they can help support students?
One way to support students and family in through encouragement and reinforcement of expectations. Hold students accountable for attendance and completing assigned tasks. Also, don't be afraid to reach out to your child's instructors. We are all in this together, and we are here to smooth over the transition.
Can you share an example of a parent or student who has been particularly great at this transition to home learning?
Parents can take this time to instill real world skills during this home school process. As an example, a parent shared this testimonial, "I have my child work through her class schedule in 'periods' that are clearly defined on our white board. We have incorporated Home Economics during lunch time in which my child prepares her own lunch and then cleans up after herself. Recess is also important, so we built that into our daily schedule in order to remain mentally, emotionally and physically healthy."
What are some of the challenges so far that parents and students can help with? What should they do?
The new format may present some obstacles along the way. As they occur, it's important to reiterate to the students that we can get through this together. Like the old but familiar saying goes, "If you don't at first succeed, try again." Remember change is not always comfortable but often needed and required. Parents can be supportive by allowing students to work through their "struggle" without immediately attempting to solve the problem for them.
What are some of the innovative practices you're using to teach virtually?
We are using the functions and apps associated with Microsoft Teams, such as Stream, to record live sessions so that students always have access to lessons taught at any point in the day. We also prerecord tutorials on YouTube to provide in-depth instruction on basic functions in Teams to build confidence among our students. We have even created channels where students can create challenges to showcase creative ways to stay connected to their peers!
These are just a few of the ways to keep our students engaged!
We know there have been hiccups - this is uncharted territory for all of us! How can parents be empathetic and understanding of teachers right now?
Parents, one thing that will surely bring about success is to remain calm, stay encouraged while being encouraging! Know that every day is a brand new mercy!
This fall, voters will have a chance to determine the direction of our public schools through four School Board elections and a referendum on a half-penny sales tax for Duval County Public Schools.