Darlington School: A Letter to Students Acknowledging Some of the Struggles of Distance Learning
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A Letter to Students Acknowledging Some of the Struggles of Distance Learning

Brant Evans | June 23, 2020 | 12 views

Students,

I hope that you are enjoying the summer and also keeping your eyes open. The government/history teacher in me wishes we were together for all that is going on in our world today. Pay attention, seek wisdom, and find ways to make a difference during this time.  

From what I see here on campus, I can tell you that the faculty is eager to have you back. We are currently working hard to make sure we are ready for those of you who will be with us and those of you who may have to be learning virtually.  

I wanted to share with you an experience I had last week that reminded me of how many of you must have felt between March and May. I teach AP U.S. Government and each summer for the last three years I have gone to Salt Lake City to grade AP exams (reading student essays). I read answers to the same question for eight hours a day for seven straight days. I do get some pretty interesting answers that make me laugh from time to time, but mostly it is pretty mind numbing. What brings me back, though, are the people with whom I get to work. I am constantly around teachers that love what they do and love their subject. So yes, it is like one big government nerd rally (I thought there was going to be a protest two summers ago when Robert Mueller testified before Congress in the middle of one of our sessions and the College Board wouldn't let us take a break to watch it).  

This year, the reading in Salt Lake was cancelled due to Covid-19 and we were asked to read from home on our computers. The experience wasn't the same. Where I normally had a table of 8-10 other teachers with whom I could ask questions and discuss responses, I now had a video tutorial on how to grade the response and a chat room with an expert on the question. These were great options considering the circumstances, but it was nowhere near the same. The ability to speak face to face with another human being cannot be completely recreated virtually, no matter how hard you try.  

Teaching this past spring was the most difficult time for me in my teaching career, even more so than the growing pains you go through as a first-year teacher. I would bet that many of my colleagues felt the same. Now, coming out of my AP grading experience, I think I have a better appreciation for the difficulties that some of you faced in the distance learning in the spring. It will be on us to try and make this experience the best we possibly can, and to try our very hardest to replicate the in-person experience. We miss you and we look forward to seeing you face to face again. Until then, we will continue to work to make sure a Darlington education is every bit as meaningful virtually as it is at 1014 Cave Spring Road.

Sincerely,

Mr. Evans