JAMES CITY COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) — The first week of May marks Teacher Appreciation Week.
Around this time every year, we recognize the educators who go above and beyond for their students. Over the last year, above and beyond took on a whole new meaning, which is why 10 On Your Side is honoring teachers every day for the month of May.
Creativity and flexibility are two qualities every teacher possesses. This year, those skills were taken to the next level.
Lindsey Ambrose, who teaches at Toano Middle School in James City County, made sure her students were supported in the midst of so many changes.
Ambrose has been teaching special education for seven years. Being in special education, she knows how to adapt, but says this year has been difficult.
“This last year has been very challenging,” said Ambrose. “It’s made me think out of my box and get out of my comfort zone a lot.”
When schools first closed in March, Ambrose made sure her students had the supplies they needed.
“We quickly gathered materials, we weren’t really sure,” said Ambrose. “My kids struggled with online learning.”
Just a few months later, she had another life-changing event.
“I had a baby in May, so throwing that into the mix, it made it a little more challenging personally, so I kind of took my week and got back into it,” Ambrose said.
She was back to virtual teaching just one week after giving birth to her second child.
Ambrose said,” It kind of reminds me that in all of this craziness, there is goodness.”
She and her students were out of the classroom from March to September.
“It was pretty fun because I could stay in my pajamas all day and just lay down and watch TV,” said 7th grader Aiden Waller.
The students say they are happy to be back.
“Good to see my friends and learn,” said Justin LeCompte, also in 7th grade.
Ambrose made sure her students felt safe and protected in the classroom, creating barriers out of plastic pipes and shower curtains.
“We knew we would be eating in the classroom and doing activities and with my population of students, wearing a mask can be a challenge,” said Ambrose. “I wasn’t sure how they were going to adapt, but they’ve done beautifully.”
Ambrose comes from a family of educators and says teaching special education is “her cup of tea.”
She says the last year has been hectic, but she wouldn’t change a thing.