During these difficult and troubling times, there are countless examples of teachers doing all they can to help their students. Here is a story by AL.com reporter Bob Carlton about two elementary teachers in Tuscaloosa:
“Two Alabama elementary-school teachers have gone the extra mile – about 50 miles, in fact – to help their homebound students keep up with their reading and writing and arithmetic during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Merideth Lett and Hollie Nelson, who teach at Huntington Place Elementary School in Northport, drove around Tuscaloosa County this past Thursday delivering “care bags” to all 25 of their fourth-grade students.
The teachers gave each student a recyclable grocery bag filled with math and reading workbooks, writing notebooks and mindfulness lessons, as well as Post-it Notes, highlighters, pencils, crayons, snacks, photos of their fellow students and personal notes from the teachers.
Huntington Place Elementary School was closed for spring break last week, and like other schools around the state, it will be closed at least through April 3 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We have just bonded with these students and their parents like never before,” Lett said in an interview with AL.com today. “There was just a lot of uncertainty about what to do and how to maintain instruction, so Hollie and I decided that we would do these bags together.”
The teachers provided the school supplies and snacks, and the grocery bags were donated by Publix. Five Points Baptist Church in Northport also contributed a $200 Walmart gift card, which the teachers used to buy groceries for four of the students whose families are food insecure.
Since delivering the care bags, Lett said she and Nelson have received text messages and photos from many of their students’ parents thanking them for their efforts.
“It meant the world to them,” she said. “Our county is quite large, so some of our students live far out. . . .
“One of the things we kept hearing from the students that we got to see was, ‘I cannot believe my teacher is at my house. I didn’t know teachers ever came to your house.’”
This particular class, which also includes some special-needs students, means the world to their teachers, too.
Lett is a fourth-grade teacher, and Nelson is a special-education teacher, and the two friends teamed up to teach this year’s fourth graders at Huntington Place Elementary School.
“This is my 21st year teaching, and I love it. Otherwise, I wouldn’t continue to do it,” Lett said. “But this group of students and their parents, this is the most rewarding, best year I’ve ever had. The growth that we’ve seen is just so rewarding.
“It was such a blessing to both of us to be able to put these (bags) together to help these parents, to help our students, and just to let them know that we care,” she added. “It blessed our hearts so much to see their little faces — the ones we got to see — and to see how happy they were.”