BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) – Brooke Kopp has been teaching kindergarten for 13 years. But she’s never had a week quite like this past week.
The Sunrise elementary kindergarten teacher is one of 160 Bismarck Public Schools teachers who have had to quarantine since mid-August. Kopp quarantined after her husband tested positive for the coronavirus.
Because she was feeling fine, Mrs. Kopp and her principal figured out a way she could continue to teach from home.
Meadow Patchen is a big fan of books and kindergarten.
“I love it,” she says.
She also loves her teacher, Mrs. Kopp.
“We just have a lot of fun with her,” says Patchen.
Even when Mrs. Kopp is teaching on the “big screen.” For the past week, Mrs. Kopp has been teaching kindergarten from her living room.
“It’s a different year,” Kopp says.
It’s possible thanks to technology.
“We haven’t had any technology hiccups at all,” says Kopp.
And also, thanks to Mrs. Kopp’s guest teacher, Mrs. Dirk.
“She is there for classroom management, to hand out papers and she has modeled some hands-on things I can’t do from home. She makes sure everyone is being active listeners when I’m teaching,” Kopp explains
Mrs. Kopp is able to answer questions, teach lessons, and give students gentle reminders.
“Put your mask over your nose,” she reminds a student through the screen.
Her students are just happy to hear her voice and see Mrs. Kopp on the screen.
“I like her on both,” says kindergarten student Kai Langer.
“I like her in the classroom and on that,” says classmate Afton Silha, pointing to the screen at the front of the room.
“I think it’s cool that I still get to see her but she’s not actually here,” adds Patchen. “But I still wish she was actually here.”
Mrs. Kopp knows there are lessons to learn through this big screen. Lessons for her students and for herself. Lessons like flexibility, patience and empathy.
“I feel a little left out being on the computer and they get to be together. I am definitely more empathetic to families dealing with COVID. I get it now,” she says.
Lessons and life skills that will help Mrs. Kopp and her kindergarteners long after the pandemic is over.
Mrs. Kopp will return to her classroom in person on Monday morning.
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