West Vancouver teacher embraces distance learning
WEST VANCOUVER -- Stephen Price’s dining room is now a virtual classroom for his grade 4 and 5 students from Eagle Harbour Montessori school in West Vancouver.
“I’ve now got school books next to my cookbooks in my kitchen, my kitchen table is a little teachers desk, “ said Price. “It’s more of a podcasting set up my in my house rather than a teaching classroom, but it lets me connect visually with videos to the kids.”
Price records lessons each night and posts them for his students the next day, starting the videos by channeling Robin Williams’ famous line from Good Morning Vietnam.
“Good morning Eagle Harbour!” Price says energetically, before doing morning announcements and telling a few bad teacher jokes. He tries to incorporate the realities of COVID-19 into each subject.
”The math project I’ve decided to do is learn graphing. Obviously we’re trying to flatten the curve, and so I’m teaching graphing right now so kids can understand how do we create graphs and what does a curve mean,” said Price.
“I have to applaud really sincerely the efforts of teachers,” said Vancouver school superintendent Suzanne Hoffman. “In such a short amount of time the fundamental shift in the delivery of education has taken place. And it has really been a collaborative effort.”
Hoffman said as distance learning kicks in to high gear this week, everyone is figuring out what’s working and what’s not. “I think all things considered, the past week has gone incredibly well.“
While she hopes students will be able to return to the classroom, the superintendent says districts have to plan to continue distance learning for the remainder of the school year.
“Now we have to look at sustaining that going forward, looking to the weeks and months ahead. If report cards are required they will be provided if we’re not back in session. What does end-of-year look like? And then, starting to think ahead now to next year,” Hoffman said.
On Wednesday, Price and other teachers from Eagle Harbour Montessori surprised their students by delivering care packages to their homes.
“It’s really just about giving the kids a reminder of the school community they aren’t able to physically go to right now,” said Price.
While he misses teaching in person, the switch to online learning has shown Price a different side of his students.
“It’s great to see them be so resilient and so willing to take on the challenge that we’re all facing,” he said.