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Sticky notes of positivity and some creativity: How a first-year teacher handles class during the coronavirus

A 4th grade teacher in the Tampa Bay area says she's getting the hang of teaching during the pandemic.

LARGO, Fla — Kids have been back to school for more than a month now, and whether it's online or in-person, there's been a lot of change. For those who chose to be in the classroom, it's a much different experience than last year. 

Remember Kaitlin Morris? She was the first-year teacher from Ridgecrest Elementary in Largo we talked to ahead of the school year. Now, we are checking back in with her and she shares with us the challenges and successes teaching during the coronavirus pandemic

When we last caught up with Morris, she was a little nervous about starting her teaching career in the middle of a pandemic, she wasn't taught how to deal with masks and acrylic shields in class, but she still couldn't wait to meet the kids.

"For the craziness that it is, it's going shockingly well. I know it's like a weird time to be a new teacher but I have no complaints. It's going pretty good." 

Morris teaches 4th grade. She says she didn't know quite what to expect dealing with all the plexiglass and masks, but it quickly became second nature.  

"I give them sticky notes that I write positive messages and they started decorating their plexiglass with them. It turned out to be something so cute in my room. And the masks, I was worried about having to teach through a mask all day long and once you start wearing it. You forget you have it on."

The biggest challenge for Morris is that the kids can't see her facial expressions and she can't see theirs.  

"It is harder to kind of see how they're doing. Lots of giving me thumbs up, in the middle or thumbs down, nod if you hear me or say the color purple if you're paying attention, so I know. Because it's hard when you don't see how engaged they are."

Morris says she's just really proud of her students and how they've adapted to all the changes. 

And, while all of these changes are creating extra work for most teachers, Morris says she doesn't mind, it's all worth it knowing she can help a child. 

To see more of the interview with Kaitlin Morris and how she feels about being a first-time teacher during a pandemic and how her kids are doing, check out an extended interview on our 10 Tampa Bay YouTube page.

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