Welcome, Tiana Keels!
Episode 13 focuses on the remote learning experiences from the perspective of our guest, Tiana Keels, Academic Coach of The School of Humanities in Savannah, Georgia.
Tiana Keels was the winner of our 1st Anniversary Give-A-Way which included several techie prizes, one of which was a guest spot on episode 13. We are interested to reflect with Tiana on the remote learning experiences that impacted the students and teachers in her urban community during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Do you have Somethin' to Tech About? Be our guest in Season 4!
Dru & Angie:
What was something surprising that occurred during your remote learning experience?
Tiana: I was surprised about how quickly my colleagues were able to monitor, adjust, problem solve, and effectively teach the content in new and interesting ways remotely. It was encouraging and inspiring. There aren’t many markets where the product or service, in this case, instruction, can change overnight and those providing that product or service can instantaneously adapt, redesign, restructure, and produce, as quickly as teachers all over the nation have. Now, don’t get me wrong, there were some hiccups along the way. Teachers had to learn new platforms that would engage students, many of which they had never used before. They stepped up to the plate and I think that also shows tremendous resilience.
...my colleagues were able to monitor, adjust, problem solve, and effectively teach their content in new and interesting ways.
Dru & Angie:
How did your role as an instructional coach change?
Tiana: My role as a coach changed substantially. I was more visible and less visible all at the same time. I began attending all collaborative meetings across all grade-levels every day. Which immediately, I realized that teachers needed more engaging resources for students that would cover their content in new and interesting ways. When I attended virtual teaching sessions, my feedback seemed to focus primarily on student engagement and resources the teacher could use to encourage more students to attend their sessions. I still provided feedback, did observations, and provided resources however, I found myself being a voice of calm, reason, and encouragement in these very uncertain times. That was definitely a new role for me.
The most amazing results came from teachers who really appealed to the interest of the students. When teachers focused more on student engagement and motivation, students attended and participated more readily.
Dru & Angie:
Share an accomplishment/success story from your school.
Tiana: I think the most encouraging success story from my school is concerning the students themselves. I can think of four students in 4th, and 5th grade who struggled in the regular classroom setting. In fact, their behavior was a concerning challenge and I had very consistent interaction with these students. Our school is a village and as a coach, I often find that to be most helpful to teachers I sometimes must provide assistance with difficult students. This may be in the form of a time out in my room, lending a listening ear, or sometimes even phoning a parent. As we progressed into teaching from home at our school, I began to hear success stories concerning two of the most challenging students. They were thriving due to remote teaching and learning. With the temptation of attention-seeking behavior removed, they were able to truly focus on the content and master standards in classrooms they could barely sit down in before. It was a truly encouraging moment for both teachers and students.
With the temptation of attention-seeking behavior removed, (students) were able to truly focus on the content and master standards...
Dru & Angie:
What challenges did you/your school face? How did you/your school overcome that challenge?
Tiana: I think that our school faced many of the same challenges experienced by schools across the district and this nation. Students who did not have access to technology or access to the internet was a major concern. It brought our school great joy to be able to provide students with technology but there were a large number of students that didn’t have internet so the technology just solved part of the problem for them. We offered community partner options that would provide internet service at no cost to parents but even among those options there were obstacles. For example, transportation, having a consistent address, and the availability of the parents, many of whom are essential workers, to devote time to getting access for their children. Many of our parents had multiple school-aged children. Our teachers had to walk them through this new process and help them manage their students’ schedules. Many parents were learning right along with their students and our teachers were happy to help in any way that they could. I spent many hours helping teachers troubleshoot why children were having technical difficulties, providing access and passwords for multiple online accounts, etc.
We need to keep our eyes and hearts open to students who lack access to technology at home and find ways to continue to support unplugged learning.
Dru & Angie:
How do you envision these remote learning experiences to impact future instruction?
Tiana: I honestly believe that public education is going through a major reform, I envision remote learning becoming the future of a vast majority of the students served by public education. Brick and Mortar schools need to adjust to the changes coming ahead. More teachers will be required to become remote learning capable. I believe that for some students, this will be extremely positive. They will have options that we as adults never had and those options will shape the way we educate our students forever. In this age, I believe this change was necessary and inevitable.
We cannot expect students to return to the way things were. Many of our teachers have expressed that they will never teach the same again. I see our district supporting our students and teachers through this journey to find a compromise that will be best for all.
Join our show in season four!
Sample Episode Topics:
Changing landscapes of technology and education.
Lighter side of learning.
Classroom models that meet diverse needs.
We are planning our next season and want YOU to be part of it! Express your interest - we will be in touch soon!