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Here’s how one teacher used home visits to reconnect with disengaged students

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This article is part of the Future Forward series. Find the full series here.

For many educators, teaching became increasingly challenging when the pandemic hit. Having to shift to virtual learning in an instant brought a whole slew of changes to the classroom, from adapting lessons to suit an online environment to teachers having to learn new technologies fast. Steven Gupton, a teacher at Shepard Middle School, faced all of these challenges and more.

“We have not stopped teaching. In fact, I, along with a lot of other people, are working even harder now, to build those relationships, to plan those lessons, because this is completely different for us. Unless you were someone who taught virtually or taught distance education from the beginning, this was all brand new.”

Steven Gupton, teacher at Shepard Middle School

Midway through the pandemic, Gupton switched jobs. He went from teaching in his home county, a rural area, to Durham County, a more urban environment. The switch has been mostly positive for Gupton, but it certainly added to the long list of changes in a year ripe with uncertainty. 

It’s always about serving students for Gupton, which is what he held onto during this tumultuous year. Remembering his “why” allowed him to try innovative approaches in his classroom, like following up with students at home after virtual classes.

“Home visits have been a hit,” said Gupton.

For many of his students struggling to engage online, having their teacher visit them at home bolstered their feeling of connectedness to both their teacher and their education. 

“I want to ensure that I am continuing to build intentional relationships with students,” said Gupton.

Listen to the full conversation here.

Alli Lindenberg

Alli Lindenberg is an executive fellow for EducationNC.