To some, working from home may seem like a great assignment.
But Texas teacher Terry Wade has a confession to make:
“I miss my kids!”
Terry teaches physical education at a North Texas elementary school—at least she did until the coronavirus outbreak shut down schools across the state.
Now she’s one of over 350,000 educators who have been teaching remotely since mid-March, when Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered schools closed.
She and other teachers are missing the face-to-face interaction with their students.
“People don’t go into education for the money,” Terry told Texas Scorecard. “You have a heart for the kids. We all miss our kids.”
They may be at home, but they’re not on vacation. Terry and her fellow teachers are on the job, working to educate the state’s 5.4 million K-12 students as best they can from a distance.
A bundle of energy herself, Terry is used to chasing around 5- to 11-year-olds five days a week. She’s known for making class activities fun, often dressing up to motivate her kids.
Now she and other teachers use Zoom to hold virtual classes.
Terry’s students log in to 30-minute PE classes online, and she gives them one “must-do” and one “can-do” assignment. Students document their work with a picture or video.
“The kids online are happy to see us,” Terry said, adding she is proud of how they are taking responsibility for keeping up with their school work.
Some of her “homework” assignments include household chores like making their beds or taking out the trash—no doubt appreciated by the parents, who Terry says are the hardest hit by the school closures.
She said teachers are doing their best to make it easy for parents and students to access and complete assignments, and all the kids at her school are provided with iPads that they were allowed to take home.
Teachers are also keeping office hours, attending regular staff meetings via Zoom, and trying to continue servicing resource students remotely.
By order of the governor, Texas schools will stay closed through the end of the 2019-20 academic year.
That means no end-of-year activities for the kids, and Terry said she’s concerned about how next year’s grades will be affected with students missing so much instruction time this year.
Still, she says it’s going as well as it can go.
She said her district staff has a great attitude and has “gone above and beyond” to provide resources for teachers, and the parents are appreciative, which means a lot.
“It’s been a lesson in patience, prayer, and not sweating the small stuff,” she said. “We’ll figure this out.”
For the rest of the school year, though, Terry will be missing out on what she loves most about her job: the kids.