Teaching across the miles

Teaching+across+the+miles

Abby Fernandez

 

  TJC and LHS speech teacher Janice Caldwell has been instructing her class using Google Hangouts after a family emergency brought her to Alabama. Caldwell is using modern technology  in order to communicate with her students.

 

  “I get to see them every day,” Caldwell said.  “I get to watch their speeches live and give immediate feedback. For me that is extremely important because I believe they learn to improve from immediate feedback when what they did is fresh on their minds.”

 

  Students present their speeches in front of the class with a laptop and webcam positioned at the back.  Caldwell is able to see their presentation and powerpoint while they are able to see her on the computer screen.

 

  “I love the way they come sit in a chair in front of the screen as I give critique because I can see their reactions to what I am saying,” Caldwell said.

 

  Substitute teacher Carole Collins has been filling in for Caldwell in her absence. She has been able to keep a physical presence in the classroom while Mrs. Caldwell teaches from a screen.

 

  “It has been phenomenal so far,” Collins said. “It feels just like she is with us. I can’t imagine how it could’ve worked out any better.”

 

   With the help of Leslie Garakani and Neda Morrow, the technology was setup to provide the two-way communication the class uses to contact Mrs. Caldwell and get feedback from her. With the help of TJC speech student Aaron Cortinas who places the “call” to Caldwell each day, a stable form of communication between the class and Mrs. Caldwell is possible even though she is teaching from another state.
  “Frankly, things haven’t changed that much,” Cortinas said. “Mrs. Caldwell has such a personality, that even though she doesn’t shake our hands as we walk into the door, she still lets us know every time we come in that she loves us and she misses us. I’ve learned that when a teacher is a good teacher, and her students respect her, things aren’t that different even when she’s not physically there.”