Return to Headlines

Teaching From a Distance - Brian Japp, CTE

May 19, 2020

We have seen what distance learning looks like for some of our students, and now we wanted to share what that looks like for some of our teachers!


CTE’s Brian Japp shares what distance teaching looks like for him. 




I am Brian Japp, the Forestry and Horticulture instructor at CTE. Adaptation to our remote learning environment has been challenging for me. I have really discovered how heavily I relied on the strong team of coworkers around me, the resources in my classroom and lab space, and especially the feedback from my students, collected through formative assessments to plan what to do next.


My work space at home is not fancy. I sit at the kitchen table (in a different seat than I eat at) and I have a crate of books and resources I keep in the corner. I dedicate the hours between 8-10 as my school time. However it is often interrupted to get Cheerios, goldfish, scrambled eggs, etc. 


This is the time when I develop assignments, grade, and send emails. This dedicated time keeps me in a school based routine, and for me that has been very helpful. I even try to wear a CTE shirt! Brian Japp


Throughout the day I respond to emails or join other Zoom meetings when needed. This time of the year we will have many transition meetings to prepare students moving into our own, or out into other programs.  


I think my students have done a fantastic job staying engaged. I still have to do the chasing that all teachers know, and that has been less effective than when you see a student each day. But overall, they are doing well!


Forestry students get together on Mondays and Fridays as part of Google Meet. I do not make them a requirement, as I want people to access them if they want to, but on average we have better than half the class participate each meeting. Mondays work for some kids and Fridays are  better for others. I also do an ‘attendance’ email on  Monday/Wednesday/Friday that the students are required to respond to.  


I’ll close with a link to a great example of student work. This presentation is from Nikolai Pughe, a senior who works on a farm. One of our assignments was an independent project designed to be flexible for students who are doing work related to our forestry curriculum.  


Thank you for checking it out!