When half your students don’t have internet access

I hosted a small group meet recently via Zoom for an optional “office hours” meeting.

Make Zoom optional

About a week ago, I decided to host an optional meeting on Zoom so students could drop in to ask a question about an assignment, check on a grade, or just talk. One or two students dropped in momentarily to ask about their homework, and a half-dozen or so decided to chat online for the full forty minutes.

And a good time was had by all...

I can’t use Zoom very often — and certainly never for a grade — simply because 47.8% of our students reported they don’t have internet access at home using a computer, laptop, or Chromebook.

And that’s why my meeting last week was strictly optional; if students could make it, fine, and if not, fine. After all, they knew they could reach me another way… drop off a note at school, send me an email, text, or call. Of course, those last three ways work only when you have internet service. Some kids have told me they have to stand at a certain spot in their driveway to make calls.

Our school does allow students to use its WiFi account during our school closing. Kids can come to the school parking lot and use their phones or a laptop to complete and/or submit homework.

Park near the main gym entrance for best signal, the announcement read.

True, for the half of our students who can access the internet, working electronically and submitting work online isn’t an issue, so that’s good.

However to serve all our students, until our area receives better internet access, teachers must rely on traditional paper assignments. We’ve distributed those papers using social distancing on three Wednesday afternoons during our state’s shut-down.

It’s important for rural students to be able to access the internet as conveniently as urban students. What’s your internet service like? Leave a comment below and become a follower for more ELA teaching posts. Thanks for dropping by!

Published by Marilyn Yung

Writes | Teaches | Not sure where one ends and the other begins.

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