Listen. Right now, we’re ALL teacher heroes. You got out of bed? Hero. You taught a lesson on Zoom? Hero. You ate something other than M&Ms all day? Hero.
Still, there are so many stories of teachers going above and beyond during social distancing. Could we be them? Some days, maybe. Other days, probably not. Do they still deserve a pat on the back? Heck yes.
Read on below to see some of the heroic efforts made by teachers during the global pandemic.
1. Virginia teacher 3D prints hundreds of face masks for healthcare workers
With face masks and other protective equipment at a premium right now, engineering teacher Matt Shields figured he could help by designing and 3D printing face shields for his friends and former students working in healthcare.
Since then, word got around, and Shields has now made hundreds of face shields for healthcare workers right in his high school’s engineering department.
“Something I tell my students I think every single day in my engineering class is that the job of the engineer is to make the world a better place,” said Shields. “They’re helping me with some of the design and optimization of some of this equipment and they can know that they’re tangentially connected to something really important.”
2. U.K. teacher walks miles to deliver meals to students
With schools closed around the world, students who once counted on school for regular meals are struggling. Teacher Zane Powles has been walking over five miles daily to deliver meals to his students and check in on their well-being during these uncertain times.
“By delivering [the food] myself I can check on vulnerable children,” said Powles. “We don’t want children having to come out of their homes. The fewer people on the streets the less coronavirus there is on the street.”
Powles has been helping deliver meals to over 100 students locally since the pandemic shut schools down. “We should never give up on children,” he once said, and his actions are clearly speaking louder than words.
Source: Grimsby Live
3. Ohio teacher delivers social distance-friendly birthday surprises
Teachers everywhere want their students to know they’re still thinking about them, especially on days as special as their birthday. “I wanted them to know we missed them and that—even though it was hard being away from school and our friends—we would make it through all of this,” said middle school teacher Michelle Giles.
Gias didn’t just stop at birthday wishes and gifts either. “It also afforded me the opportunity to answer any questions their parents had regarding distance learning and give them some tips on how to help their student stay organized while learning from home.”
4. Indiana teachers hold a car parade to safely visit their students
It doesn’t have to be a student’s birthday to hold a celebration for them. Teacher Staci Scott-Stewart helped coordinate with over 50 Indiana teachers to drive through their town to show their students some much-needed love and support.
“Before I knew it, people were making signs and going over the top like elementary teachers do,” Scott-Stewart said of putting together the event. “We just want all the kids to be connected to their teachers. We’re all in it together.”
5. New York P.E. teacher creates TikToks to help students stay active
We’re sure not many teachers ever thought TikTok would become part of the curriculum, but P.E. teacher Bryan Stamboly and his students have been loving the app since social distancing began.
“I know how I was feeling all cooped up with nothing to do and with the weather the way it’s been … I didn’t want [my students] to get discouraged,” says Stamboly.
Stamboly went on to remind us that there are many roles to play in helping our community during these times. “The front line people are the ones that should have all this credit. Between the hospital workers and the nurses and the RNs, there’s other people playing different roles and if one of them is trying to lighten the mood or be funny, I feel like I can fit that pretty well.”
6. Florida teacher comforts students with chalk messages
With teachers physically separated from their students, there have been many stories of teachers visiting student homes to write or leave behind caring notes.
Recently, teacher Rayna Overmyer spent over 5 hours driving to each and every one of her students’ homes to write notes and show how much she still cares about them. “I tried to be sneaky, but one of my students caught me. Seeing the smile on her face—that five hours was very worth it.”
Source: Naples Daily News
7. D.C. teacher transforms kitchen into a chemistry lab
Teachers have been getting creative with distance learning from home, and Jonte Lee is no exception. Lee has not only turned his home kitchen into a chemistry lab station, but he has also been harnessing the power of social media to further engage his students.
Before social distancing, Lee had hardly even used social media, but he learned to love the potential behind it. “I was able to see students’ questions in real-time and I was able to ask them questions and see how they’re thinking,” said Lee after teaching via Instagram Live.
At the end of the day, teacher heroes do whatever they can for their students. “Life has changed but the love I have for my students still has not changed,” said Lee.
8. South Dakota teacher tutors through student’s porch door
Rylee Anderson was struggling with algebra concepts and decided to email her math teacher a few questions. The next thing she knew, she heard her doorbell ring.
Teacher Chris Waba showed up ready to teach on her porch, with a marker and whiteboard in-hand. “The picture just shows the length that which teachers will go to help their students at any cost during these times,” said Rylee’s father.
“I’m a better communicator face-to-face than [on] the telephone and I think students learn better that way,” Waba said. And Waba did not leave until he was satisfied with Rylee’s understanding of graphing functions.
“That’s what teachers are looking for, those smiles,” Waba said. “That’s the joy of being a teacher and that’s what we do it for.”
9. California teacher helps colleagues adjust to online learning
Students aren’t the only ones who need help from teachers in this time of crisis. Enter teacher Caitlin Mitchell.
“As soon as things started to change and schools started to close, I noticed a lot of teachers in our community who, all-of-a-sudden, were thrown into this new online learning environment. So I thought it myself, ‘What can I do?,'” said Mitchell.
Mitchell went on to email the 20,000 newsletter subscribers she has through EB Academics and let them know she was there to help. She put together a series of free online tutorials for teachers looking to improve their distance learning experience.
“Our lives are very different at home than they were three weeks ago,” she said. “You don’t need to completely change everything that you have already been planning on doing. Let’s take your original plan, let’s adapt a little tiny bit, and make them useful in the classroom online.”
10. North Carolina dance teacher offers free online lessons to students
Gyms, dance studios, and more have also been shut down due to COVID-19. Dance teacher Danielle Terrell didn’t want this crisis to deter students from continuing their passion.
“You cannot lose your passion just because you can’t be in the studio together,” said Terrell. Terrell is hoping these classes will let these students feel connected and stay active while not missing a beat—or a move.
11. New York teachers form a caravan to recognize the class of 2020
The graduating class of 2020 is sadly likely going to miss official graduation ceremonies to celebrate their years of hard work. One New York school district decided they needed to do something for their students.
“We have four buses set up. I got teacher volunteers, staff volunteers to help distribute the signs and balloons, and we’re gonna recognize the seniors as properly as we can,” said principal Scott Wilson.
Every single senior received a sign saying “Home of a Churchville-Chili Senior Class of 2020” in addition to being surprised by the entire school staff showing up in appreciation.
“It’s a nice gesture by the school, and by the parents who organized it,” said one student. “I think it’s really great that they still care about us like that.”
What teacher heroes did we miss? We’d love to hear—we might even share your story!
Also, see the ways schools are celebrating their Class of 2020 in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.