YORK COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) — Every morning during the month of May on WAVY News 10 Today, we’re highlighting Excellent Educators from Gloucester, to Gates County, and everywhere in between.  

One educator, a teacher at a York County middle school, is TikToking her way into her students’ hearts and minds. 

Melissa Schantz is a seventh-grade English teacher at Tabb Middle School. She also helps with the school’s yearbook program. She’s been at Tabb for about a year and a half. Her time at the school has its ups and downs, but she’s made sure to keep up her excitement for her students. 

“It’s just kind of fun to be like ‘Oh yeah I know what you’re talking about, kid in my class.’ And they’re like ‘Wait, you know TikTok?’” Schantz said.

Not only does she know about the popular video-sharing app, but she’s also on it.

“I’ve done the classy, boujee one,” she said. “I know kids are on TikTok so I’ll have them show me their learning in a TikTok. Because the kids are tech-savvy and because we’re virtual, we tried to incorporate technology.” 

Technology has been a big asset, but also a big challenge.

“I was sitting in the classroom looking at a screen with no student faces and the classroom was just empty. So I felt sadness because it’s like you’re a teacher because you want to be with kids and work with kids and have that interaction, she said.

She’s finally getting that opportunity once again. Most of her students are back in the classroom a few days a week.

“They’re taller than I anticipated. They just kept coming in and I was like ‘wow,’” she said.

When they leave, she hopes her lessons would have grown on them as well.  

“I hope what they look back on when they remember my class is we tried to have fun, we got creative and above all else, I want them to be excited about learning,” she said.