KEIZER, OR (KPTV) - This school year, amid a pandemic, FOX 12 has regularly gone inside Keizer Elementary to share the stories of teachers, staff and students firsthand, in a series called "Keizer Strong." FOX 12 most recently spoke with an instructional mentor at the school about how she's been supporting educators throughout the pandemic.
Jaime Lee is new this year to Keizer Elementary.
"So, I didn’t actually know the staff in person," she said.
Lee said that didn't stop her from helping teachers during a difficult year.
"So, I’m an instructional mentor that’s with the school. Usually, I’m like the problem solver," Lee said. "If they have a problem, they’ll come to me and if I don’t know the answer, I’ll go to the district. So, like the link between the district and me."
Lee said she's there to help anybody, all the time. Amid a pandemic, she said that can truly mean with anything.
"I’m working with them as teachers, with curriculum or assessments or things they have to do that is normal, that they still do every year, but also, moving that into technology," said Lee.
Lee said she trained the teachers at Keizer on how to move from the classroom to the computer at the beginning of the year.
"Like Zoom, and it’s not just the regular Zoom, because you’re teaching," Lee said. "It’s a whole new Zoom. Even if you used it with your family or friends before, you’re doing it where you’re actually teaching on Zoom, which is a whole other world."
Lee said she watched teachers struggle with distanced learning and creating relationships with some kids.
"They don’t want to have their cameras on, they don’t come consistently," she said. "You know, it’s just hard to make that connection and that relationship, but that’s what all of us as teachers thrive on, is that relationship. So, without it, makes it just kind of like a job and not a real commitment and relationship and that’s what we are as teachers."
But Lee said she always made sure to encourage them along the way.
"I think my biggest thing is you are doing the best that you can do in this situation," she said. "We’re all doing our very, very best."
Now that kids are back inside the classroom, she said it's much better.
"I got to actually meet everybody in person, which was always a plus, right," said Lee. "Seeing people face to face when they’re asking questions."
As for teachers, she said they're thriving as well.
"Getting to see the kids, of course, was awesome," she said.
She said her advice to them moving forward is to continue all the new things they've learned throughout the year.
"We have learned that that care and connection that we gave kids when they were at home and that we had with families and that communication, that’s something that we’re going to continue to do even into the coming year," said Lee.
Lee said continuing what they've learned this year, may mean using Zoom for parents who can't make meetings or conferences in person. She said it could also be a way for them to have a more convenient conversation with a teacher face-to-face.