Southwest Florida educators connect with students during pandemic

Kids are at home until at least April 15, but learning must go on and teachers still have to plan.

Teachers like Maria Rose, who teaches first grade at Edison Park Elementary. She may be a veteran after 26 years in the classroom, but now she’s learning something new.

“So far, so good. It’s a huge learning curve,” Rose said of teaching online.

That learning curve must be mastered by Monday when Lee County students will log on for instruction.

The teachers also want to put their students at ease.

“They really miss school,” said Jennifer Owsiany. “I’ve received a lot of messages, and we also use Microsoft 365, and a lot of kids are writing ‘I miss school, I want to be in school, I miss you, I miss my friends.'”

Owsiany is a fourth grade teacher at Naples Park Elementary. She wants to keep her students – and their parents – calm while also keeping her own emotions under control.

“It kills me because you know we all want to be there with them,” she said.

“Not being able to hug them hurts, you know.”

In her new classroom, she plans on keeping things light.

“Make the kids laugh and put the parents at ease, because I know they’re just as stressed trying to figure this all out. I’ve been reading all the posts onĀ Facebook and I get it, parents, I get you,” Owsiany said.

Despite the stress of the unknown, lessons like spelling will go on because to fail isn’t an option.

Teachers will continue to be an important influence on students, spreading messages of hope and encouragement from wherever they happen to be.

“Just keep breathing and stretching like Mrs. Frizzi taught us; don’t worry about it. take it one day at a time,” Owsiany said.

“Thank goodness I have amazing teammates and we’re all in this together,” Rose said.

Even though online learning doesn’t start until Monday, teachers are leaving little lessons for their students to try out.

One teacher asked students to build and measure towers with different bases and report back.

Writer:Jackie Winchester
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