Vale Elementary School teacher takes on distance learning challenge

Vale Elementary School kindergarten teacher Lynda Gastanaga said her district’s shift to distance learning delivered challenges and opportunities. (The Enterprise/Pat Caldwell).

VALE – Necessity can be the mother of invention.

Lynda Gastanaga, Vale School District kindergarten teacher, can relate to that old adage.

Gastanaga, a teacher in the district for 28 years, said when area schools switched from regular classes to distance learning because of the COVID-19 virus outbreak, she had to innovate.

First, though, she felt a little overwhelmed with the change. She also had a lot of questions.

“How in the world will we be able to do this? How will it look? How will the parents handle the technology?” said Gastanaga.

Gastanaga said she faced a steeper learning curve then she expected.

“I was nervous due to my lack of technology skills,” said Gastanaga.

While she recognized the value of distance learning, she wasn’t familiar with how to provide it.

Initially, distance learning created challenges, said Gastanaga.

“A lot of trial and error. Our district gave us Zoom accounts and we had some online videos we watched that walked us through how to set up accounts. A lot of it was learning as we went,” said Gastanaga.

Classes on Zoom and other distance learning applications from the Malheur Education Service District proved crucial, she said.

At the start of the distance learning experiment, Gastanaga worried about how to interact with her kindergarteners.

One early challenge, she said, was online access for students.

“That is not something all of our families have here,” said Gastanaga.

She also wasn’t sure how much time each student could devote to online education.

News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected]


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