Here at ModCloth, we think that teachers are like real-life superheroes. Instead of fighting crimes, they’re shaping minds! As such, we’re kicking off Teacher Appreciation Week with Sarah Waters, aka @sigmaofsarah! A math teacher based out of Calgary, Canada, Sarah sat down to school us on how she makes the world a better place, sans cape.
Head of the Class
Like any superhero, teachers have to overcome demanding challenges to save the day. “People often don’t realize the implications and true cost of making class sizes larger to save on paying a teacher’s salary here and there. Large class sizes definitely contribute to teacher burn-out. Trying to meet the needs of so many different learners and dealing with all the grading that comes with 35+ students per class is exhausting. It’s definitely enough work to earn our summers off!”
As you can tell, being a teacher during non-pandemic times is tough enough! Now, try doing it over Zoom – almost impossible, right? Like any true hero, Sarah rose to the challenge. “As soon as the news hit that schools would be cancelled, I had a million ideas for how to deliver curriculum online! I feel uniquely equipped to deliver digital content thanks to my blog, so that really hasn’t been a problem. I have happily been making and editing lots of video lessons.”
While Sarah has gotten a handle on the work-from-home learning curve, she is quick to note its downsides, “The biggest challenge is not being around the kids. Well, teenagers in my case, but I still think of them as my kids. I know they are struggling in a way that they wouldn’t be if they were in school, and as much as I can do online, I can’t help them or motivate them in the way I could face-to-face.” That being said, she does admit there’s a couple perks to the quarantine classroom, “Like getting to make fresh pour-over coffee and drink it while it’s still hot! Being able to make lunch and consume it at a normal pace feels positively luxurious!”
The Equation to Positivity
In math, we learn that double negatives make a positive. Sarah has a slightly different approach when it comes to self-caring in self-isolation. “I think the most important part of being positive is knowing you don’t have to be happy all the time. Know that happiness will come for you again, and that it is possible to cultivate it.”
Luckily for Sarah (and for us), cultivating beautiful outfits equals happiness in quarantine and beyond! “Putting together beautiful outfits and taking pictures of them gives me life! I started my blog in a time where I needed a tangible reason to get up and put myself together everyday, as I always feel better when I do. It has been serving the same purpose during quarantine.”
From One Hero to Another
While we think teachers like Sarah are the ones saving the world, every hero has an origin story that motivates them to become a life-saver. “My mom is my personal superhero. She valued hard work over achievements when I was growing up, and that meant more to me than she can know. Thanks, mom!”
Teachers-to-be, are you looking for your own origin story? Have no fear! Just like any caped crusader, Sarah is always looking out for her fellow teachers. “My recommendation to new teachers is keep going! You will have to work so much in those first few years, go for it, you will get through it.” However, she does require that the rookies complete some self-care homework, “Don’t work 7 days a week. Take at least one weeknight off per week to do something fun. And make a lot of freezer meals!”
Do You Know a Real-Life Superhero? Nominate Them!
Nominate your real-life superheroes – aka teachers and healthcare workers – for a chance for them to win a $200 gift card!
To enter, head to the ModCloth Instagram. Snap a screenshot of the #ModClothHeroes template to nominate a teacher or healthcare worker. Post your completed template to your IG feed or Insta story, tag @ModCloth, and use #ModClothHeroes. 4 random heroes will receive a $200 gift card in May, and one winner per month will be randomly selected for the rest of 2020!