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'You can't mute in real life:' D11 music teacher uses other instruments to teach remotely

Posted at 7:55 AM, Sep 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-14 10:36:05-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — We all know how frustrating it is when you're in a Zoom meeting and you get that three-second delay, causing everyone to talk over each other. Picture that but with 25 first-graders! That's what one D11 teacher says she experiences every day.

Shannon Glenn is a general music educator at Chipeta Elementary. All her classes are remote. Glenn says remote teaching is difficult, especially when her students have different bandwidths, causing delays and interruptions. One other instrument she uses is the personal connection she has with her kids.

Glenn still tries her best to connect with her kids by taking the time to individually greet them. During each class, she takes them one by one through the music lesson.

"I teach all six grade levels, kindergarten through sixth grade. Each class is 30 minutes a day," explained Glenn.

There are times when the students get distracted. Glenn has to be observant and keep watch over all the boxes on her screen to make sure the kids are focused. Glenn says there's another instrument that all teachers can use to make sure class doesn't get too chaotic: the mute button.

"I'll take students one at a time and I'll sing something and then they'll sing it back to me, and then I'll mute them again. There's some advantages to being online. I can mute! You can't mute in real life," she explained.

Right now D11 is preparing to return to in-person learning. Even with masks on, Glenn says singing is still discouraged.

"We'll have to teach listening skills, use body percussion, and we'll even go outside and spread out so my students can safely sing," the teacher explained.

If that doesn't work, she says her students will just have to hum if they can't go outside. Glenn says this pandemic has brought on so many changes in the classroom, it's exhausting sometimes just to keep up.

"We are human, we are teachers and we are tired from all the things we have on our plate, but we know this has got to be done so we can teach," she said.