HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – It’s the final stretch before students fill the halls next week, but this year is unlike any other. Two teachers at Lakeside School District talked about taking on this new normal. One of the teachers has more than four decades under her belt, while the other is just beginning her career at Lakeside. While they are both in very different places in their careers, they do have some things in common.
The sound of teachers hustling to put the final touches on their classrooms fills the empty halls of Lakeside Intermediate. It’s Elizabeth Roberson’s 42nd year doing just that.
“I love it more now than I did when I began,” Roberson said.
This year, however, is quite a bit different.
“This child here is six feet from this child here. Social distancing is number one,” Roberson said.
From new layouts to new technology, Roberson says some changes have taken some getting used to.
“I’ve had to work hard at trying to stay up with that because I was not a natural at it,” Roberson said.
Other changes, however, are bringing her career full circle.
“When I started teaching there were no recess duty teachers, and there were no P.E. teachers, we did it all and so I feel like I’m kind of back to that,” Roberson said.
Just down the hall, Avery Ray is working to get her first classroom at Lakeside ready for students next week.
“I didn’t have to think about what I’d done in the past in these same walls so it was easy for me to think about spacing out all of my kids,” Ray said.
She says a fresh set of eyes combined with her experience online is getting her through this new normal.
“I may have one child with me working on-site and then I might have a couple others on Zoom. That helps me feel a lot more confident because I know what I’m doing with my technology,” Ray said.
She is also relying on those like Mrs. Roberson to lead the way.
“It’s also really nice to hear from our more experienced teachers here,” Ray said.
Whether it’s year one or year 42, there’s one thing these teachers have in common.
“I miss my kids and I can’t wait to see them again,” Roberson said.
Lakeside School District starts back next Wednesday. They are having open houses starting tomorrow. Both teachers say they are doing everything they can to keep kids safe and healthy this year.