Lethbridge teachers getting into the groove of online instruction

Teachers in Lethbridge say it's been a different experience instructing kids during the pandemic.

Over the past couple of weeks, many people have been adjusting to work online and, for teachers, it’s no different.

"Not knowing what that was going to look like – there was a lot of anxiety, a lot," said Jen Scott, a teacher at Lethbridge Collegiate Institute.

She says much of the anxiety stems from not knowing if students would engage in online learning, if they would be interested and whether to livestream it or not.

The Lethbridge School Division is using Microsoft Teams, a program that allows students to access PowerPoint presentations and interact with teachers on a virtual whiteboard.

"Within three minutes every student was there, and just seeing their faces and hearing their voices alleviated that anxiety," said Scott.

For students, it might be a bit different than their casual walk down the hall to class.

"It’s just kind of starting off slow, but I think it will get there," said Presley Heggie, a Grade 10 student. "I haven’t left my house for like a week and I haven’t been able to see my friends so it has just been a relief seeing them."

One of the biggest changes, however, is how students are tested.

They are writing their exams at home unsupervised but the provincial achievement tests have been cancelled. But teachers and students seem to have come to a mutual understanding.

"Learning is something I need to do or I’ll just end up being a couch potato my whole life," said Heggie.

Scott says learning has a different meaning for students with the change.

"I’ve had a lot of communication from students in the past, about how earning is so much fun when there is no test. So now you don’t have that diploma exam so you can learn for fun."