(ANDOVER, Kan.) — A Kansas middle school teacher found a heartwarming way to let her students to know that even though she won’t be seeing them every day in her classroom, she is thinking about them.
Victoria Bay, 29, teaches sixth grade Social Studies at Andover Central Middle School in Andover, Kansas. This week, she and her students were on spring break when the school district made the call to stop sending kids to school for the remainder of the school year due to coronavirus concerns.
“We are on spring break so when I left my kids I told them I would miss them this week and I would see them soon,” Bay said. “Knowing that they would never get to be in my classroom and be my students again was honestly devastating and heartbreaking.”
Bay said her group of sixth graders were a “really special group of kids” and when she realized she wouldn’t get to give a proper goodbye to her students, she wanted to do something special.
Hours after she heard the news, Bay bought paper and one hundred envelopes. She sent a letter to each of her students to let them know how thankful she was to be their teacher and that she would miss them.
“I wanted them to know that I instantly thought of them in that moment that [school] was canceled and I’m so thankful for the memories that we created together,” Bay said. “I am really thankful for them and I wanted them to know that they’d be on my mind.”
Bay typed out a general letter for all 100 of her students and then added a handwritten personalized note to each letter with a memory or a thank you to each kid. She sent them two days after the news broke that the school year was over.
While not being able to teach her kids has weighed heavily on Bay, she says she is able to get through this tough time thanks to a shift in mindset.
“I create learning experiences in my classroom, do characters, do room transformations and knowing that my students won’t be able to experience these things is hard,” she said. “I’ve been trying to shift my mindset from all the things I’m going to miss doing to all the new opportunities I have to build new opportunities for my kids.”
As for students, Bay has a message for all of them during this confusing and difficult time.
“Your teachers care about you and we have your best interest in mind,” Bay said. “We are going to do whatever it takes to make the rest of your school year the best it can be regardless of what it looks like.”
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