Teachers are standing up (and in some cases laying down) to give kids the education they need at a time when they need connection the most.
Here are some of the ways teachers are going above + beyond for kids right now:
This pregnant teacher is on bedrest + teaching from her hospital room
California teacher Janet Udomratsak has been teaching at her elementary school for more than a decade and today back in class again.. from her hospital bed.
Udomratsak has been hospitalized for several weeks due to her high-risk pregnancy but chose to start the school year virtually anyway.
She tells Motherly: "The beginning of the year is a crucial time to make connections and build strong relationships with your students. When you have that connection, the students feel safe and comfortable with you and that helps with their motivation to do well in class."
When local news stations picked up her story, a lot of internet commenters hailed Udomratsak as a hero. She tells Motherly she's honored, "but I wouldn't necessarily say that I myself alone am a hero but educators in general are heroes. I feel that my dedication to teaching isn't that far off from other educators. My situation is a little different with me being in a hospital and not being able to be with family but I feel that my motivation is the same as that of others."
This back-to-school season is difficult for all teachers, whether you're in the classroom or logging in from your hospital room, something Udomratsak recognizes.
"This year is a very different type of schooling but we are all here for the students. Virtual learning is new for all of us and we are learning and adjusting alongside the students and that is why we need to be a team with the parents." she says. "Even though we are not physically in the classroom together, school is real and our passion is just the same for them."
This viral photo shows how one teacher created socially distanced Jeep desks
Maybe I'll Shower Today
Jennifer Birch Pierson, a Kindergarten teacher from Texas, understands how different this school year is for her little kinders. Social distancing measures mean her kids will need to sit away from friends, something they may not be used to.
She came up with an idea to make sitting at a desk more fun and turned the desks in her classroom into trucks, creating an exciting environment for her children to learn in.
Pierson, whose classroom looks like an adorable road filled with unique and colorful cars and trucks, even turned the required desk shields into windshields for her desk-mobiles. With one idea and one photo, Pierson proved that classrooms in the time of the coronavirus pandemic don't have to be scary. Our youth deserve the opportunity to grow and thrive while learning in a safe space.
For good reason, the photo of Pierson's classroom quickly went viral after it was posted to the Maybe I'll Shower Today Facebook page. The caption that accompanied Pierson's pic perfectly summed up the feelings of many parents around the globe. "Those students who enter her classroom may have a tough time, but clearly they are in the hands of a caring teacher, and that's something all parents can be grateful for," the post read. "Thank you to the teachers, who, like Ms. Pierson, are doing all they can and more to make our kids feel safe and happy."
Pierson said it was her goal to make "lemonade from some very sour lemons," and it seems she's doing just that. While it may be hard to imagine a classroom full of Kindergarten-aged kids being able to practice social distancing for hours on end, Pierson's way of creating a fun space for her students to keep their distance will certainly help make things easier.
This teacher is using Baby Shark to take a bite out of math
Texas teacher Ashlee Skelton is still teaching her elementary classes through a screen, but that doesn't mean the kids can't have some fun.
If you've been on TikTok this week you may have seen Ms. Skelton dancing for her students to Baby Shark in a shark costume. Her co-worker caught her in the act and the clip's been viewed millions of times.
"I was in my classroom doing reading plans and I heard the song," Skelton's fellow teacher Hannah Roddy told KHOU 11 . "I came to peek through her window to see what she was doing and I was like, this has to be filmed."
"All of the followers I had on TikTok were my family members and some friends," she explained. "So, I did not think really anybody would see it."
Well, 15 million of us have.
Skelton says she did the dance because she recognizes how hard it is for kids to keep sitting in front of a computer for hours. She hadn't met her students or their parents in person yet when she did the dance.
"I think I heard some parents cringe in the background at the song that was used, but the kids really enjoyed it and they were super excited about it," she explains. "Just to see them laugh behind the computer screen, just kind of made it all worth it."