How are SPS teachers training for virtual learning?

SPOKANE, Wash. — Teachers at Spokane Public Schools are glued to their computer screens these next couple weeks as they train for the new—virtual—school year.

The first day of school was originally scheduled for Thursday. But because of the changes in the way classes will be taught, the district pushed back the first day by two weeks.

So what are teachers doing with the additional two weeks, what’s going on behind the scenes?

Teachers wanted to clarify with 4 News Now, the basis around this training is not to teach teachers any new curriculum. This time is to train teachers how they are going to connect with students in a virtual world.

Instead of our kids sitting in a classroom holding cubes to practice counting, they’ll show their teacher through a screen.

“I can make an interactive slide with this on it. Underneath, there could be the empty ten-frame. Drag and drop your cubes over,” said Kyndra Mancini, 2nd grade teacher at Grant Elementary School.

But it’s one thing to say how a lesson is planned, versus actually teaching in a couple weeks.

“What if I get sick? What if this? What if that? We don’t have all the answers yet. We’re building the plane as we fly it,” Mancini said.

That’s what this time for training is set aside for. They’re using the additional time to work out all the kinks before they’re in front of our students.

They’re spending their days doing back-to-back online lessons on the best virtual teaching practices.

“I’m already feeling it just as I’m setting up the materials for the to take home. For example, the Unifix Cubes. I just don’t know what it’s going to be like, especially for those little kids,” Mancini said.

Teachers know it won’t be easy, but they’re trying their best.

“We’re giving grace before grades. We’re showing our love before lessons. We’re not trying to be perfect. We just want to be there for our kids,” Mancini said.

For younger kids, like in Mrs. Mancini’s class, they’re being given some of materials so they can choose to do hands-on work at home or virtually, including counting cubes and workbooks.