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JCPS teachers apply NTI techniques to in-person learning

Published: Jun. 8, 2021 at 5:01 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 8, 2021 at 5:50 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The pandemic brought its own unique challenges to Jefferson County Public School teachers who had to overcome the obstacles of virtual instruction.

Reflecting on the past year, Emily Schrock, a first-year kindergarten teacher at Price Elementary School, potentially learned just as much as her students.

“We were thrown into a new job, and not just a new job, but a job that has never looked like this before,” Schrock said.

Schrock kicked off the first day of her teaching career behind a computer screen. It’s where she would spend the better part of her year teaching kindergarteners the essentials, including how to write and how each letter sounds.

“That’s really hard to teach thorough a computer,” Schrock said. “It’s hard for students to see what you’re writing, it’s hard for us to see what they’re writing.”

Shrock was forced to adapt to the challenges.

“Sometimes the audio was muffled through the computer, so letters like ‘P’ and ‘B’ were really hard for students to get because they weren’t hearing those sounds clearly like they would if they were in person,” she said. “Then once we got in-person school, we had masks which further muffled those sounds.”

She added white boards and document cameras to her virtual lessons so the kindergarteners could see the letters she wrote, and she had the students practice their letter sounds more than usual.

Price Elementary’s assistant principal, Samantha Miller, told WAVE 3 News the obstacles teachers faced were blessings in disguise.

“NTI was a great opportunity for our teachers to have the time to learn how to use these tools effectively,” Miller said. “During the school year, there’s so much to do that sometimes professional growth can get covered up with so many other tasks, so this really was a wonderful experience for our teachers.”

Schrock now understands the importance of developing close relationships with her students’ families and practicing patience. She plans to implement some of the teaching techniques she learned during NTI into future instruction.

“We were thrown into NTI and learned a ton about technology and how to engage our scholars through technology,” Schrock said, “and I think we’ll be able to use those tools when we get back into the building next year full time.”

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