Virtual program

Family and teacher share their experience with the first year of the GCS virtual program


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While most of the students returned to class, others decided to learn virtually throughout the school year. The Greenville County Schools Virtual Program is finishing its first year after starting, coincidentally, in the midst of the pandemic. It was uncharted territory for both families and teachers. Although they entered the school year blind, they both say it taught them things they couldn’t learn in class. “How do you teach six-year-olds to make friendships online when they don’t even really know the person they’re talking to? First-grade teacher Keller Sutherland said. Sutherland typically teaches at Ellen Woodside Elementary School. As you might expect, the virtual program required some tweaking. This meant new routines and live virtual lessons every morning. “I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, he’s supposed to be connected,’ said Jennifer Afzaal, a mom. “I yell at him from across the room, ‘Go connect! “” For teachers, technology has also been a big adjustment. “The kids have taught me so much about technology and vice versa,” Sutherland said. leaps and bounds in the classroom. “When you look at it that way, versus day to day, then you can really see the progression they’ve made,” Sutherland said. The year has come with its challenges, however. For Afzaal’s son Adyan, 6, some lessons were difficult to put into practice on screen. limited to virtual learning. “Music, you don’t have the instruments you could play with, and physical education, you can’t run while playing basketball or whatever,” Afzaal said. One of the big challenges for Sutherland has been building these relationships with students and parents. “It was a gateway and an exit, so to speak,” Sutherland said. “So I had a lot of students in my class and a lot of students leaving. In addition to trying to build relationships through a screen, she says it has been difficult to see some students come and go throughout the year. at the same time, she has seen relationships develop in different ways. “In small groups for example, I get along and the kids talk to each other, and they’re not just sitting around waiting for me to start a conversation,” Sutherland mentioned. Afzaal saw his own son grow up. “As far as his reading goes, he’s learned in leaps and bounds so I’m really proud of him,” Afzaal said. class in the fall, they both say the virtual program has been a great experience. “I want them to grow and be successful, but for me it’s more about personal relationships,” Sutherland said. Registration for the GCS Virtual Program is open until April 23.

While most of the students returned to class, others decided to learn virtually throughout the school year.

The Greenville County Schools Virtual Program is finishing its first year after starting, coincidentally, in the midst of the pandemic.

It was uncharted territory for families and teachers. Although they entered the school year blind, they both say it taught them things they couldn’t learn in class.

“How do you teach six-year-olds to make friendships online when they don’t even really know the person they’re talking to? Said first grade teacher Keller Sutherland.

Sutherland typically teaches at Ellen Woodside Elementary School.

As you might expect, the virtual program has taken a few tweaks. It meant new routines and live virtual lessons every morning.

“I’m like ‘Oh my gosh he’s supposed to be connected,’ said Jennifer Afzaal, a mother.

For teachers, technology has also been a big adjustment.

“The kids have taught me so much about technology and vice versa,” Sutherland said.

From day one until now, Sutherland says they have made great strides as a class.

“When you look at it that way, versus day to day, then you can really see the progression they’ve made,” Sutherland said.

The year has come with its challenges, however. For Adyan, Afzaal’s 6-year-old son, some lessons were difficult to practice through the screen.

“Write,” Adyan said. “Sometimes write. “

Although she is happy with the virtual program, Afzaal says the live interaction and activities are limited to virtual learning.

“Music, you don’t have the instruments you could play with, and physical education, you can’t run around playing basketball or whatever,” Afzaal said.

For Sutherland, one of the big challenges has been building these relationships with students and parents.

“It was a gateway and an exit, so to speak,” Sutherland said. “So I had a lot of students who entered my class and a lot of students who left.”

In addition to trying to build relationships through a screen, she says it has been difficult to see some students come and go throughout the year.

At the same time, she has seen relationships develop in different ways.

“In small groups, for example, I get along and the kids talk to each other, and they’re not just sitting around waiting for me to start a conversation,” Sutherland said.

Afzaal saw his own son grow up.

“As far as his reading goes, he’s learned in leaps and bounds so I’m really proud of him,” Afzaal said.

While the Afzaals and Sutherland are excited to be back in class this fall, they both say the virtual program has been a great experience.

“I want them to grow and be successful, but for me it’s more about those personal relationships,” Sutherland said.

Registration for the GCS Virtual Program is open until April 23.

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