Appreciating Teachers

May 4, 2020
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Even during a global health emergency, teachers continue to educate, encourage, and inspire students. They’re finding new ways to connect with learners, and we’re amazed by their creativity and persistence in spite of the many challenges they face. To kick off Teacher Appreciation Week, we asked our team of TFK Kid Reporters to tell us how their teachers are going the extra mile during this trying time. Read their notes below.

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Mrs. Williams, my seventh-grade engineering instructor, is an outstanding teacher. Like many other students, we’re learning electronically because of the pandemic. Mrs. Williams lets us share our thoughts and discuss things, and she gave us helpful hints on how to move forward with online learning. She also created a virtual NASA field trip last week. We learned how long the space shuttle Atlantis was in space, how many times it went into space, and about the International Space Station. Mrs. Williams continues to make the best of the situation by being creative to keep us engaged. Thanks a lot for guiding and inspiring me. Mr. Sears, my principal, has made sure his students stay connected through different activities. During the fourth week of our being out of school, Mr. Sears set up the STEM Stays Home Challenge. Some of the activities included Miss You Monday, where we emailed our teachers about what we’d miss from their classes. He also organized a trivia evening based on fun facts about our school, and it was a great way for us to reconnect with our beloved classmates. —By Alexis Bumah

My teachers must have been under lots of pressure to create an online learning program with almost no warning, but they did it and have made it fun, too. They’ve gone above and beyond to make students feel comfortable in this hard time. One thing they’ve added is live office hours. In addition to our regular live classes, our teachers have created meetings where we can ask about assignments or just talk. My homeroom teacher, Ms. Connaughton, has set up extra small-group meetings on Fridays. She uses this time to ask about our well-being and how school is going for us. It has meant a lot to me that she wants to hear our feedback and make the next week even better. And she cares enough about me as a person that she wants to hear how I’m doing during a challenging time. Our teachers have also created projects to help keep us occupied and excited about school. Our librarian, Ms. Lee, made an online bulletin board where students can write news stories at any time, which has allowed me to do my favorite thing: report news! —By Henry Carroll

This pandemic has been a real wrench in the works of all of our lives, but our teachers are looking past that to keep teaching us to the best of their abilities. The ones at my school all became expert Zoomers! They had to change their lesson plans so they could teach them online. And they are still helping students with homework, giving out good study tips, and just trying to be there for any student in need. Our teachers are going above and beyond the call of duty. My Spanish teacher, Señora Tarraso, emailed me when my assignment wasn’t turned in correctly. My art teacher, Ms. Finch, knew that I was doing the work, but emailed me when it wasn’t showing up as turned in. And finally, my principal, Ms. Koscik, helped me when I was having trouble getting into my virtual meetings. Those are just a few examples. Thanks to all the teachers out there for bringing their creativity, positivity, and sometimes even their pets! —By Jack Doane

ALLISON SINGER FOR TIME FOR KIDS

I am so blessed to be a student at my school. My teachers Ms. Tallman and Ms. Collins prepare a syllabus each day to give students detailed reading and homework assignments. They also host online sessions to answer students’ questions. Their support makes sure students continue to learn during this difficult time without burdening parents too much. On top of academics, the school also cares about our mental and physical health. It hosts hangout sessions during which students can read together in virtual book clubs, socialize, laugh, play online games, and enjoy themselves. The syllabus always includes instructions for physical exercise, such as stretching and jumping rope. Our principal, Mr. Finch, even makes videos of himself climbing playground structures to encourage students to exercise. I also appreciate the weekly letters that he writes to encourage people in the community to support one another, stay patient, and take quiet time to reflect. —By Priscilla L. Ho

Although COVID-19 closed our campus, learning continues. Teachers at my school invested an enormous amount of time and effort to make the shift to distance learning an exciting one for all of us. I am particularly touched and inspired by my English teacher, Mr. Peden. His handwriting is impeccable, and his jokes and puns are amazing. Mr. Peden doesn’t need technology to hold his students’ attention and make his classes enriching and entertaining. He has taught English for more than 40 years at my school, and I’ve only seen him use our SmartBoard a few times. But shifting to online learning, Mr. Peden has been excited to learn the new software and technology, and continues to teach us the work of his favorite author, Shakespeare, virtually. Thank you so much, Mr. Peden; all of your students know you have a passion for teaching, and we’re forever grateful for you! And I’m thankful to every single one of my teachers for making this shift to distance learning so seamless, easy, and fun. —By Eshaan Mani

During this time of uncertainty and fear, Mrs. Holler is doing a lot to help the fifth graders she teaches. In addition to posting detailed instructional videos online that help guide students through each assignment, she is very quick to respond to emails and to answer questions. She does everything she can to ensure kids are successful with their work. She provides positive and constructive feedback on every assignment we turn in, making us feel great about our work and giving excellent advice about fixing and learning from mistakes. Mrs. Holler makes our virtual class meetings every Friday morning fun, with activities and catch-ups. She has helped me grow as a student and as a person, and I, along with many others, am so grateful for the work she has done. —By Mira McInnes

Because of the coronavirus, I have been learning online for the past four weeks. It has been really different and sometimes a mess, but my teachers have always been there for me. For one thing, during regular class, they always make sure to answer everyone’s questions. They have even set aside time for us to catch up with one another and share what’s happening. With our work, my teachers—Ms. Killory for math and Ms. Walsh for homeroom—always make it clear what we need to do, and when. If I’m having trouble, I can send them an email and they respond quickly. One helpful thing is that they review the classwork and make sure we all know how to access everything and submit the assignments. If I ever have trouble submitting something or getting into the virtual meetings, they help me out and are understanding. While this is all new, it is so much easier to get work done and juggle everything, knowing my teachers have my back. —By Tyler Mitroff

Teachers are always a big part of a student’s life. But now that we’re stuck in this dire situation from the highly contagious COVID-19, they’re going above and beyond. The whole community is working together like never before. Our principal holds a daily mindfulness session, where we get to calm down before we start the day. Teachers conduct virtual meetings, where we get to play games and see our friends. The principal offers weekly prizes on the school website. Sometimes, these are store coupons, which encourage families to shop at local stores. Our district superintendent gave all the masks in the science department to the local hospitals. The district is providing free pickup lunches for the students at our school. Our teachers are hosting games and sing-alongs for the students, and offering motivational quotes. And they are always there for us, not just academically, but emotionally. As this virus tries to split us apart, we will unite. I am part of not just a school or a district but a community. This virus won’t stop our laughter. No matter what happens, we will persevere. —By Raunak Singh

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