With emotional wellness being such an important part of learning, Parents for Public Schools has decided to add a section to our newsletter. Each month, our Counselor Connections article will feature a different social emotional issue, and will include the perspective of one of our valuable Pitt County Schools counselors. This month, we focus on virtual learning. Whether your child is doing all of their learning from home, learning from home every other week, or only learning from home on Mondays, we hope you’ll find this valuable.

This month, we talked with Demetrise Cobb, MA, NBCT, LMHPC, counselor at AG Cox Middle School.

What seems to be most challenging for virtual learners? 

Having so much screen time, and screen time that is different from what students have been used to in the past, has been a challenge. Students know about playing video games or watching movies on a screen. But the switch to using the screen for engaged learning, and finding the motivation to do that in a structured way can be difficult.

What can teachers do to help students during virtual learning?

Helping students and parents understand the “why” behind what you are teaching is helpful. Sharing standards, objectives, and letting students know that they are correctly hitting milestones, or helping them know what to do if they are not, is all appreciated.

What can parents and students do at home to make virtual learning successful?

Create a schedule and stick to it! It can be hard to be at home and remember that you have to “go to class,” at a certain time, but having that set schedule can help students engage in a way that leads to success. Be patient and understanding, not only with the school and your teacher, but most importantly, with yourself. It is okay for parents and students alike to admit that this is not an ideal learning environment. Continue to exhibit patience with yourself and your family, and then help each other be kind and caring to one another as you encourage each member of your household to come out on the other side of the pandemic having experienced various levels of success.

How can counselors help virtual learners and how do students get in touch with counselors to access their services?

Counselors are available to meet with students over zoom while they are virtual. Counselors can help students navigate virtual learning roadblocks with technology and can offer guidance on how to communicate with teachers. Counselors can meet with students to discuss GPA, career interests, and mental health needs. They can refer students to therapists. Counselors can be contacted by going to their school website, clicking “Resources,” “Counselor’s Corner,” and scroll to the bottom to complete a referral. They can also be reached via the counselor’s Canvas page, or by locating the counselor’s email or school phone number on the school website directory.