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Oh no, I’m late! Oh wait, I’m not

Teachers welcome students back to virtual school

It looks like a school kid’s worst nightmare: waking up late on the first day of school! But it’s actually teacher Matt Banta popping open his eyes, jumping up in a panic and racing to school – only to find that it’s closed because, of course, Rockford schools are all-virtual for the first three weeks.

Banta, a seven-year physical education teacher for Rockford Public Schools, made the funny but informative video for his 600 students at Belmont and Cannonsburg elementary schools. It was his way of reminding them that school is all online beginning on the first day, which was Monday.

“I wanted to make something that would help everyone relax about school starting,” said Banta, who recorded the video on his iPad. “I hope that people will watch this and realize that even though we’re not in a normal situation, things are going to be okay and their teachers are still there for them to help them succeed.”

Besides the fun stuff, like waking up on a football pillow and dashing to school in a cowboy hat, Banta offers practical information to his pupils on how to get started online. “We’re going to do a lot of the same stuff we’ve done before, but you’ll be able to tune in and watch it on Google Meet, which is going to be super-awesome,” he tells them.

Other teachers also sent students welcome-back videos. Valley View fourth grade teachers Teresa Babcock and Jennifer Bakita put together an introductory video that walks students through their online learning programs. And Valley View second grade teacher Amy Gardner sent her kids an “All About Me Goose Chase” enabling them to walk around Rockford with an adult and find QR codes that tell more about her.

With so much negativity in the air, Banta said he wants his video to reach parents and students, “and if only for a few minutes, give them a good piece of news to watch.”

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Charles Honey
Charles Honey
Charles Honey is a freelance writer and former columnist for The Grand Rapids Press/ MLive.com. As a reporter for The Press from 1985 to 2009, his beats included Grand Rapids Public Schools, local colleges and education issues. Honey served as editor of The Press’ award-winning Religion section for 15 years. His freelance articles have appeared in Christianity Today magazine, Religion News Service and the Aquinas College alumni magazine. Read Charles' full bio or email Charles.

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