EASTVILLE, Va. (WAVY) — Our Excellent Educators series continues at Northampton Middle School on the Eastern Shore.  

Special education teacher Rebecca Lusk found much to be positive about during an unusual, ever-changing school year.  

“I feel like what’s helped me this year is just going with the flow, just letting the changes come and figuring it out and making it work,” Lusk said.  

Like many teachers, Lusk quite literally went the extra mile for her students during the pandemic. 

“I really work hard to reach out to parents and families,” she said. “I drove packets and paperwork to people’s houses [and] made sure they have what they need.” 

Unlike most school systems in the metro, Northampton County began bringing students back on a hybrid schedule right as the school year began in September.  

“Starting out with half the kids at a time was helpful because we got to know them in smaller groups,” she said. “I do feel like things have slowed down, we’re not feeling the pressure to do all these things in order.” 

Another positive for Lusk: this year, she and her colleagues get a full day to plan, train and prep. 

“Then, when we’re here at school with the kids, they get all of our time,” she said. “We can really focus on them.” 

If Lusk seems unusually upbeat about this tough year for many educators, it’s because she has the perspective of very recently coming through her own personal crisis. 

“This year, I’m not sick,” she said. “I had breast cancer and it’s just like everything seems more positive to me.” 

Lusk began treatment for breast cancer in January of last year.  

Returning to the classroom in the fall felt like a comeback and a victory against cancer and against the pandemic. 

“I was sort of excited to feel good again,” she said. “I love the teachers I work with, I have a great administrator who’s positive and energetic and very supportive. And I get to live on the Eastern Shore, where I love to live.”