1st-grade teacher in Chesapeake discusses virtual first day of school


CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — It was a first day of school unlike any other.

Lynn Bell, who’s been teaching for more than two decades, helped her B.M. Williams Primary School first-graders and their parents navigate this new online world from home Tuesday.

“It was definitely hairy at times. We had a lot of login issues, but overall, I felt like the login process was pretty smooth. There’s just lots of little quirks along the way,” said Bell.

She says for the next couple weeks, she’s asked her parents to be involved and patient as everyone gets used to this new normal.

Around week three, she believes her 22 first-graders will get the swing of things and be able to operate without as much parental help.

Bell says her goal right now is to get them to interact as if they were in-person, and she’s got some tricks up her sleeve.

“I think I can still keep them engaged just as much as if I was in school. I have lots of different tools of praising them and lots of thumbs up, thumbs down. They’re going to be using a dry erase board so they can show me and interact with me,” Bell said.

She says she’s tried to implement things to make navigation easier such as using pictures for hyperlinks instead of words.

She says ultimately converting her curriculum into online learning was a big challenge, but she’s found some great websites to help the children learn more hands-on despite being at the computer.

Students and teachers get multiple opportunities for breaks throughout the day to get them up and moving.

10 On Your Side asked her if she thinks her students who are online all semester will be at the same place as those who potentially go back to in-person classes. She says yes.

“As far as their work goes, a lot of [in-person students’] work is going to be done on devices as well because we can’t pass out paper, so we have to figure out that whole issue. So, the school day — even though they’re in-person — may still look very similar as to what’s going on virtually,” she explained.

Bell says she’s just encouraging parents and students to have patience with their teachers as everyone is learning this new normal together.

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