Duplin County teacher prepares for upcoming school year

Terry Smith has been teaching for more than 20 years, but this year will be unlike any other in her career.
Published: Jul. 29, 2020 at 9:08 AM EDT
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DUPLIN COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - As teachers prepare for the upcoming school year, there are a lot of adjustments to be made.

Terry Smith has been teaching for more than 20 years, but this year will be unlike any other in her career. She is now preparing to teach eighth grade ELA virtually at B.F. Grady Elementary School for at least the first five weeks of school.

“Remote learning is wonderful because we have all the internet resources out there, but there’s a downside to that because there is so much information, you can literally spend a whole day in front of your screen. I have to learn how to be moderate with that and not overwhelm students with work,” said Smith.

As Smith adapts her lesson plans to cater to remote learning, she says her personal interactions with students will also be different. She says her goal is to find ways to emotionally support her students even if she can’t see them in person.

“Our students have to deal with family members being sick, possibly hospitalized, being out of work. Students are also dealing with missing out on opportunities, not knowing what their futures are going to hold. At a young age, that’s hard for them, so having their emotional needs at the forefront as well as their educational needs is truly important,” Smith explained.

Additionally, each child may not have access to the same resources needed for remote learning at home.

“Connectivity might be an issue, but every school parking lot has WiFi. We also have community partners that offer WiFi,” Smith explained.

She says if those options don’t work, a student can still complete their work offline and they will offer paper packets, as well. Smith says the district will provide each student pre-k through second grade with an iPad and students third grade and older will get either a chrome book or a laptop.

Students will be receiving typical grades for their assignments remotely, but she says as a teacher, she is always looking for different ways to assess students, which remote learning may lend itself to.

Duplin County Schools decided to delay the start of Plan B and start the year with five weeks of remote learning instead.

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