Virtual Victories: Suffolk teachers reflect on year of virtual learning as they prepare to welcome students back

Suffolk

SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — This month, we are celebrating local school teachers’ ‘Virtual Victories’ during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Many teachers in Hampton Roads already returned to in-person teaching, or they’re getting ready to, and we want to highlight their efforts to go above and beyond. 

Daniel Gatson is a history and U.S. government teacher at Nansemond River High School. Quatisha Young is a second-grade teacher at Florence Bowser Elementary School.

Both Gatson and Young found creative ways to keep students informed and engaged while having some fun along the way. 

“This is something called Quizlet,” said Gatson, of a program he uses to teach students history lessons.

“They really enjoy it,” he said. “If I don’t do it for a while, they’re like ‘Mr. Gatson we’d really like to play Quizlet live.'”

Gatson’s students at Nansemond River High School are adapting to virtual learning through quiz and vocabulary games, made possible by his passion. 

“I care for them more than just their grades and their grades,” he said. “I care about them as individuals.”

It’s the same kind of passion that drives Florence Bowser Elementary School teacher Quatisha Young.

“We are still together learning,” Young said.

Learning together in Young’s virtual classroom goes far beyond lessons in math and science

“We also include something called afternoon wrap-up where the kids come and we wrap up what we did for the day and they can talk to each other as kids,” she said.

Both teachers hoping they can make a long-lasting impact on student’s lives even through a screen. For now, both teachers look forward to just greeting students at their door.

“I’m probably going to be really emotional about it,” Gatson said.

“I’m a very emotional person, so, I’m sure I’m going to cry because some of the kids, I’ve only seen them through the lens of a camera,” Young said.

Both Gatson and Young don’t have to wait too much longer for that day. 

Young will see some of her students on March 15. Gatson will welcome students back on March 22, with four days of in-person learning. 

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