Teacher Talks Virtual Classroom: “We take so many things for granted”

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — For some 100,000 students in the Jefferson County School District (JCPS), Kentucky’s largest district, going back to school on Tuesday will mean talking to a teacher through a computer screen. Non-Traditional Instruction (NTI) days are set to begin. Teachers like Janine Hogan have put in many hours preparing for this. 

It’s Hogan’s second year teaching. She’s a first-grade teacher at Maupin Elementary School. She’s transformed her lesson plans into a curriculum her pupils can learn all in-home. 

“We take so many things for granted, just as people,” Hogan says. 

There will be some challenges to work out, she admits. Attendance is required, but it’s a work in progress on how to keep track of it, “as of just seeing if a student is participating in the work they need to be doing daily.” 

“Just trying to ensure that the content is getting across. It’s so much different. I almost feel like I’m teaching at an upper level,” Hogan adds, “the comprehension is what I worry about.”

Worries aside, she is confident her students will perform well. She has a mantra they all know: “Set the goal. Make it happen.”

On Monday, Hogan told Spectrum News 1 she had to return to her classroom to pick up some last-minute materials to bring home with her: “just walking into the classroom it’s just memories, you know, that hit you.

“There are memories that can’t be replaced just putting a computer in front of your face and presenting. There’s the touch, the hugs, the laughs, the mistakes that we make, the way we grow together, just being in the close-knit space in that community, that’s what makes a classroom what it is,” she said. 

Hogan’s thought of the real possibility she won’t see her 2020 class of first graders for the rest of the year. 

“It hurts. It really does, almost bring me to tears. This is only my second year teaching and I just never imagined seeing the progress that I’ve seen with children. These are six, five, six or seven-year-olds, you know transforming into these beautiful individuals,” she explains.