A day in the life of the virtual teacher

Eagle Point, Ore. — The school year kicked off not too long ago in an unusual way — online.
But virtual teaching, or learning, as many have discovered, isn’t easy.

“I still love seeing the kids everyday even if it’s over zoom and instilling this passion for science,” said physics and biology teacher, Marlee Kitzmiller.

EPHS is unusually quiet these days, but due to the pandemic, the vast majority of learning is taking place online.

Kitzmiller says it’s taken some getting used to.
The first year teacher says she thrives on face to face interaction.

“I think one challenge has been pulling myself up to stay motivated and stay diligent on these lessons and make them engaging,” said Kitzmiller.

She begins her day in the classroom at 7:30 each morning.

“I come in, check my emails and look for any students who may not have gotten something from the day before,” said Kitzmiller.

On Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays students learn together over zoom with Kitzmiller, all 30 of them at the same time.

“It’s a lot, but it’s really fun, though, because they can un-mute themselves and talk to me,” Kitzmiller said.

On Wednesdays and Fridays students are on their own, watching pre-recorded lectures and going over digital materials.

“We have a lot of cool online simulations and programs where students can access these virtual labs and do them as if they’re in the classroom.”

Kitzmiller is typically with her students from approximately 9 to 11:30.

She spends the next 2 to 3 hours planning virtual lessons.

While she can’t wait to finally see her students in person, Kitzmiller says there is a bright side.
Learning these online teaching platforms now will only help her in the years to come.

“All of the online programs and technology that I’ve learned about in the past months, has been so awesome, I will definitely carry it over into our in-person teaching,” said Kitzmiller.

Currently, none of her students come into her class for any sort of in-person learning.

NBC5 News reporter Mariah Mills is a Medford native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor's Degree in journalism. She also minored in sociology. In school, she covered Oregon athletics for the student-run television station, Duck TV. When she's not reporting, she’s reading, hiking and rooting for her favorite teams, the Seattle Seahawks and the Oregon Ducks.
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