Local teacher talks challenges when trying to teach hands-on courses virtually

One high school teacher tells us how she is completely revamping her class while teaching online.
Published: Aug. 30, 2020 at 2:35 PM MDT
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) -Aly Johnson is the business and marketing teacher at Air Academy High School. She started the school year teaching in an empty classroom as her students stayed home, learning virtually.

Her course requires a lot of hands-on activities, including having her students run an on-campus coffee shop to learn how to operate a business. Johnson says she’s had to become more creative than ever has she navigates the boundaries COVID-19 has presented when it comes to teaching.

“Normally my students in my class run this coffee shop like a real business. They are taking care of our guests which are students and staff. Now, we can’t do that this semester,” Johnson said.

The coffee shop inside the school, “Kadet Coffee” is there to teach students real-life workforce skills they’ll use after they get out of high school.

Johnson has been working to figure out ways to still teach students those skills while they learn from home. It hasn’t been easy though.

“Challenge is definitely the word of the day. What I think I need to model is just being resilient and adaptable for our kids and also giving a lot of grace and understanding that it might not just click in this online setting the way that I’ve always taught it.”

A big challenge for her has been not getting the one-on-one interaction with the students in her class. She tells 11 News that despite not getting that interaction, she believes going through a difficult time, as they are now, will only make their bond stronger.

Unlike previous years where she’s used to a full coffee shop and a buzzing classroom, she’ll be turning to videos and different online courses to try to give her kids the same education. Even though it may be difficult, she’s confident they’ll make it through.

“You brilliant darling sweet angel babies, we are going to figure this out together and we are going to crush it.”

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