Education Matters: Maintaining classroom comradery during a pandemic


FRESNO, California (KSEE) – Teachers are using technology to conduct their classrooms from home – but the outreach is not just about helping students stay on track with their studies.

Sixth-grade teacher Donald Ostrander grabs his tumbler full of hot tea and readies for class. With the click of the mouse, he begins to greet his students.

Ostrander is a teacher at Fort Washington Elementary in Clovis Unified School District. Like many educators, his home is now his classroom.

“I reached out to my admin team that help me get some ideas. How I could continue teaching, how I was able to come up with using PowerPoint and uploading to Youtube. Zoom came a little after that for me and that’s been pretty cool,” said Ostrander.

He tries to keep class as routine as possible – starting the day with announcements from the school. He says he’s had a great response from his students, who’ve adapted surprisingly well.

“They just hit the ground running I guess I would say it really wasn’t a big issue for them.”

Students like Matin Tais say they get the help they need – but when they first started he didn’t know what to expect.

“I had mixed feelings I thought good it was like a vacation but I also didn’t want to miss the last part of the school year for elementary,” said Martin.

He says he feels good about what he is learning, but as you look at the computer screen and see each of his classmates’ faces it’s easy to see what’s missing.

“I think they miss the interaction with each other and with me. I think that is a huge part of it.”

Ostander says they are all adjusting. He’s teaching from home while trying to manage his own children’s learning.

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