Third grade teachers Scott Rose and Wendee Lipnick’s day unfolds like a well-choreographed dance, with Scott teaching in Room 12 and Wendee from home. Alternating subjects throughout the day, Scott teaches math and science and Wendee teaches reading and writing. Because they teach the class’s 12 on-campus and six distance learners at the same time, the whole third grade is learning together as a unit, something that isn’t possible in other rooms.
Scott has a son who’s in our fifth grade on-campus pod and a daughter in eighth grade who’s learning remotely. Wendee has daughters in sixth and ninth grades who are also learning from home. Being both teachers and parents of distance learners helps them be more responsive to students’ (and parents’) needs.
Structured Routine Is Key
Wendee and Scott stress the importance of structure in the school day. “We’ve found that predictable routines in an otherwise uncertain environment have been really helpful,” Wendee says. This structure is evident in the detailed lesson plan they produce every week and share with students and parents in both groups.
In addition to a regimented routine, Scott adds, “we try to implement as many supports as needed so students are navigating the digital learning space as independently as possible, in order to foster accountability and ownership of their learning. We also need to be mindful of the different technological capabilities of both students and parents.”
Wendee notes, “I’ve also found as a parent and a teacher that being flexible is important. It’s been helpful to approach each day reminding myself that students are all managing this experience in their own way and that their needs, and the way we support them, may change from day to day.”
Also helpful, she adds, is getting children away from their computers. “On Fridays we challenge students to stay off screens for at least 40 minutes and to get out and move their bodies in some way. It's assigned to them through Google Classroom, and the students often post how they spent that time – basketball, bike riding, trampoline, piano, things like that.” From Carpentry to the Classroom Scott has taught here for eight years. Before that he was a carpenter for a high-end design-and-remodeling company. His interest in teaching was stirred when he would drop his daughter off in Room 4 and stay to read to the preschoolers. “Spending time with them reminded me that I always enjoyed working with younger kids and at one time had wanted to be a teacher.”
After returning to college to earn his teaching degree, he student taught in our third grade and was then hired to team-teach with our third grade teacher at the time, Kim Leonard.
From HR to Teaching This is Wendee’s second year teaching at our school. She moved here with her family four years ago from New York, where she taught at a middle school for children with diagnosed learning disabilities. Prior to going into teaching, she was in human resources. She discovered her love of teaching when she worked in her company’s HR training and development department. She decided to return to school for her master’s degree in education. “I continue to be grateful, each day, for making that decision.”
Wendee will be returning to campus after spring break. She and Scott are discussing what their routine will look like when she’s back in the classroom.