Michelle Dargusch has been a teacher for Prince William County Public Schools for 14 years.
With schools closed for the rest of the academic year, she is updating her class website and emailing with the parents of her 27 second-grade students.
“I have sent them emails just checking in on them and their children,” she said. “Several students have emailed me through their parent’s email to say hello. Many parents have emailed me telling me what their child has been working on at home.”
She is also connecting parents with websites helpful for online learning and offered a few optional assignments.
On March 26, she had her first Zoom meeting with her students, 23 of whom participated.
“It was so nice to see my students,” she said. “Going from spending 30-plus hours a week with them to nothing at all has been very sad. I miss all my students.”
The children were happy to see everyone, Dargusch said.
“I think we all needed to see each other,” she said. “I loved hearing what they had been doing in the last few weeks. They talked about taekwondo, getting a new puppy, playing video games, doing schoolwork, talking on FaceTime with their friends, and much more.”
Dargusch also is helping her two sons, in first and fifth grades, with their lessons at home. “This is challenging for the younger one because first-graders are not as independent as fifth- graders,” she said. “He needs more explanation and support. This is difficult to do while I am trying to focus on my students. We are doing the best we can.”
Dargusch’s husband is still required to go to work, but he is also able to work from home more, she said. “This is unchartered territory for everyone.”