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Metro Detroit families, teachers adapt to 2020-21 school year plans

BERKLEY, Mich. – It has been challenging work for nearly two dozen Metro Detroit school districts that have rolled out their back to school plans.

The trickiest scenarios have included laptops, Wi-Fi and teachers relearning how to teach remotely, but they still are figuring out ways to engage their students from afar.

So what has the first week of remote learning looked like like for students and their families?

Steve Koponen is the kind of teacher who harasses students with kindness and quirkiness by following birthday celebrants down the hall with an accordion.

When the Farmington School District started the year remotely, an accordion wouldn’t do and so for the first day of school he wore a tuxedo.

There are people who work a job as a profession and there are teachers who work a job because it’s their passion, and for them the first week of remote teaching has been difficult emotionally.

“This is something I’ve wanted to do since first grade,” Koponen said.

From his home classroom in the basement, he’s figuring out what works and what doesn’t.

For Natalie Ford in the Berkley school district, her classroom is her classroom -- it just doesn’t look or feel like it.

Ford said she misses the noise, the faces and the warmth of in-person teaching. But she’s up for the adventure that is remote learning.

Remote teachers are working longer hours because they can’t turn it off. And while they’re still learning to teach remotely, they can’t afford to turn it off.

Without question, teachers, students and families are having a heavy learning curve adjusting to the new education plans.

READ: More education coverage

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