Maria Adams: Building community through education

Maria Adams, a kindergarten teacher at Wilson Elementary School in Corvallis, Ore. holds class pet Hugo the Chinchilla.

William Ross, News Reporter

This Q&A is the third in a 19-part series, “19 COVID-19 Stories,” updated on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, diving into the unique perspectives of the Corvallis community as they face COVID-19 and all its social and economic effects. 

Maria Adams is a kindergarten teacher for Wilson Elementary school in Corvallis. She has been a kindergarten teacher for a total of 14 years. Since Corvallis schools were closed due to COVID-19, Adams has been having staff meetings and been checking up on her students. 

 

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What has your day-to-day life been like since COVID-19?

It’s changed a lot. For example, I had an hour and a half staff meeting via zoom and I’m getting a lot of documents and training on what is expected of these times by the Department of Education standards. From what I heard today at my meeting is that we are still doing supplemental online learning but the district is preparing a plan which will be presented to the state on April 13, though things are changing daily. All of us have been coming up with many ideas about how to continue the skills the students have been working on. I’m spending time checking in with families and accessing resources for them, while also planning what I will be teaching. The goal of this week is for teachers to make a connection with all families. I have sent out messages to all the families, including a letter and a video. I’ve done fun videos for the students. The next step is calling families and asking about their individual needs. The other aspect of this is how to meet emergency needs for families because we have a lot of families that are housing insecure or food insecure, one primary goal as a school is to meet the needs of families.    

 

What perspectives have you learned from this situation?

One thing that has become even more highlighted for me is how much I value the connection daily with students. I really miss getting to be part of their lives each day. I also think this helps us work on meaningful learning, where we work at what kids would like to be learning and have them explore topics.    

 

What has been the hardest part of this all since the virus?

You work all year to form relationships with students and as a teacher I feel invested in those relationships. This is the time of the year when you really see the class gelling as a community. Also, it’s when you know the students so well that you check in daily with them. I worry about the students who I’m not able to check in with. I would love to check in with my students one-on-one, I think for right now it’s an equity issue for the district to find out how we can get internet access to all families, iPads to all families. That would have to be worked out before we really start. 

 

What has been the most uplifting part of all this?

I have gotten some videos from students checking in with me. One of my students, a little boy, shared a video with me of him losing his tooth because he wanted to make sure I knew. Those have been so meaningful, I’m so used to being able to see those things in person and it’s really neat to see them even if it is online. I also appreciate the staff working together for the common goal of resolving this new issue. It’s new to everyone, and I think the goal is to do what’s best for kids and families. Rather than just being worried about testing our focus now can be meaningful learning for students.  

 

Is there anything you would like to get out there about what you’ve been going through since the virus?

I want all the students to know that all their teachers love them, care about them, and we are thinking about you. We are trying to come up with things that will make the rest of the year meaningful, and we miss them.