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May 20, 2020

Alumni on the Frontlines: Victoria Link'15 (Childhood & Special Education)

What year did you graduate from Roberts and what was your degree?

I graduated from Roberts in December of 2015 with a degree in Childhood and Special Education grades 1-6 degree.

Where do you teach?

I currently teach second grade in the Alden Central School District in Erie County, New York.

What is it like to be a teacher during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Since I have such young children, our day in school is always filled with hands on learning and movement breaks. I adjust my instructional approach when I notice that students aren’t understanding or when they are getting too wiggly.

With this pandemic, we are now giving children technology, videos to watch, and worksheets. Each Monday and Friday, I have Zoom hours for my class. This time is spent talking with the students and seeing how things are going at home. I try not to make this as much of an academic learning time but a focus on the social emotional health of the students as they are seven and eight years old and they don’t understand what is going on. On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, students can come join office hours. Each teacher at our grade level takes a block of time during these days. Students can pop in and ask questions and get help.

I feel for my students during this time. They need me there and I cannot be there for them like they need it. As a teacher, you create such a bond with your students. It’s heartbreaking. To keep connected, whenever they send me something they have painted, made, or baked, I make sure to say something back. If it’s their birthday, I make sure to send a birthday card. After the first week of online learning, I sent letters home congratulating them on the work they did. If they need me to call them, I’ll pick up my phone and call them.

My world has been flipped upside down and so have the lives of these kids as the whole approach to teaching has changed. For the parents of these students, they also now have the role of part-time educator.

How can you support others in your profession during the pandemic?

During this time, it’s all about what resources are out there. Twitter is great for sharing ideas. I saw the idea for ‘Flat Miss Link’ on Twitter and knew I had to do it. There are so many fun and engaging ideas on Twitter that teachers and families can use. It’s also great sharing across grade levels and schools. I have some great co-workers in kindergarten and first grade and I have taken some of their ideas and modified them to fit my students. The more we can collaborate, the better outcome these students will have during this time.


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