'Not as good as in-person:' Day in the life of a virtual teacher

Teachers are heroes, now more than ever before. The coronavirus pandemic and growing number of cases in southeast Wisconsin has continuously shifted the learning models at schools. Maureen McCourt, an ELA teacher at St. Josaphat Parish School offered a glimpse into the challenges and triumphs of teaching amid a pandemic.

From a spacious classroom, McCourt now works from the corner of her bedroom. 
     
"This is my workspace," she said. "I got my little cubbies here."
 
McCourt spends her day toggling between online platforms and students she can only see virtually.  

"We try to address any issues or struggles that they may be having -- trying to bring that sense of community back," she said.

McCourt confessed another challenge educators are facing. 

"I have to be honest and say virtual teaching and learning is not as good as in-person," she said. "Absolutely not. I think most teachers would agree with me. You get frustrated. You feel like it’s never enough. It’s not adequate enough." 

So she works extra hard to make sure her students stay at the head of the class.

"The online platforms that I use, they are fantastic," she said.

McCourt scrambled early on -- even purchasing online resources and a printer out of her own pocket to get kids the materials needed. 

"I really feel like we are in this together, and we are all struggling together, but we are all finding great successes together, as well," said McCourt. 

As a mother of five with three kids at home taking part in distance learning, McCourt understands what families are going through and does her best juggling it all.

"We are all about our students and whatever it takes for them to be successful, and that’s what we’ll do," said McCourt.

Her advice to those dealing with remote learning: Stay flexible and do the best you can. 

"Take it one day at a time -- sometimes an hour at a time," she said. "We can't wait to all be back together again."

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McCourt credited the school, families and teachers for supporting each other through this unprecedented time. 

They are slated to be 100% virtual until the end of November but are ready to pivot as the pandemic sees fit. The next challenge they're dealing with is providing enough laptops and iPads for all students. 

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