At Nebo Elementary School, Kindergarten teacher Katie Calloway teaches the youngest students, giving them frequent mask breaks and a whole lot of love.
While kindergarten students are inside Katie Calloway’s classroom learning how to count, outside the school, Natasha Penland is counting her blessings.
"She loves to come to school. She doesn’t want to stay at home on the weekends. She cries because she cannot get up and go to school on Sunday," says Penland of her niece, Aleea, who she is raising.
"I get to make friends and play," says Aleea when asked what she likes about kindergarten.
After raising three other kids, now grown, Penland knows Katie Calloway is a rare gem of a teacher.
"It’s mind-blowing," says Penland. "When she comes to school, I don’t have to worry about her. I don’t have to worry about whether she’s wearing her mask, if she’s being taken care of, you know, with all the COVID going on. There has not been one minute of worrying on my part."
Calloway has been a teacher for ten years.
After taking a break from Kindergarten, this is her first year back.
She says keeping her kids masked and socially distanced wasn’t as hard as she thought it would be.
"This is their first experience with school, so they don’t know any different. So, they knew when they came to school, they would have a mask on," says Calloway.
But, those mask breaks are also a highlight of the day, as the kids hit the playground.
Calloway says she always knew she wanted to teach, and makes a point to get to know all her students as well as she can.
"Having the conversations with them, asking them about their lives, what they do at home, being interested in them," says Calloway.
"She’s always looking out for us," states Aleea.
"She’s instilled a love of learning in my child that will never go away," adds Penland.
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