A Teacher Approaches The Pandemic With Love and Positivity It's been a year since teachers were handed an unprecedented request: educate students in entirely new ways amid a pandemic. This week is Shameem Patel, a second-grade teacher in Dallas.

COMIC: 'Radiating Love And Positivity' While Teaching In The Pandemic

It's been a year since teachers were handed an unprecedented request: educate students in entirely new ways amid the backdrop of a pandemic. In this comic series, we'll illustrate one teacher's story each week from now until the end of the school year.

Episode 5

Shameem Patel, a second-grade teacher in Dallas, on personal growth and loss — and the skills needed to get through the pandemic

"For me, the time when I'm not feeling the strain is when I am with the kids. I love teaching, and I'm getting to just be with my kids, which is where the joy is. And that has not changed in the pandemic."
"One day, I looked in the [Google Meet] chat box, and one of my students was like ... Hi, I worked out the problem and I did it on my Jamboard. And I was like ... What is The Jam Board? And this little 6-year-old was like ... I'll share it to your email — which is another skill they have developed —and I was like ... Oh my gosh, OK!"
"I checked my email, and this kid has shared a Jamboard with me. She had discovered the whiteboard tool within Google Meet, and she was working out the problem on her digital whiteboard, and she wanted me to see her work. I cried."
"Very quickly, in a span of three to four weeks, my kids' phonetic spelling improved dramatically because [they] now have to type to communicate. When this is over, I still want to actually use a lot of the digital tools that I'm using for teaching."
"I was incredibly grateful that my district made the decision to dive into virtual learning so intensely from the get-go, because I think that I came into the fall feeling much more equipped and prepared to do this."
"I've been back in the classroom since October, following the hybrid model. I had this decision to make. ... I knew I was gonna be putting myself at risk, but it's not a risk that my husband or my mother-in-law — who is over 65 and has health issues — signed up for. So I moved out and got my own small apartment."
"I would be completely isolated and not put them at risk, which was obviously very emotional. I have not been with my husband since October. When you come home at the end of the day, it's the onslaught of it all that hits you."
LA Johnson/NPR
"It is scary. I'm scared. I don't ever want to display that fear in front of my kids because I still want school to be an environment that's full of optimism and love for them."
LA Johnson/NPR
"Our school is big on social-emotional learning. We do a morning breathing activity, we learn impulse control and we do this thing called 'sending each other shine.'"
"In my classroom, we are in this together. It's not teacher versus student — it's we are all here doing this thing, and none of us knew what we were getting into, but whether we're a grown-up or a kid, we are definitely in it together."

This comic was adapted from interviews with the teacher conducted by Eda Uzunlar and LA Johnson.