When it comes to navigating the murky waters of life in the middle of a global pandemic, teachers are the real superheroes. Not only have they been tasked with changing everything they thought they knew about teaching kids, but they’re doing so with enthusiasm and PURE class.
Take Mackenzie for example. The 24-year-old Kindergarten teacher is winning hearts across the internet this week after a TikTok of her teaching 5-year-olds went viral for all the right reasons!
With loud facial expressions, and a cheerful voice that could easily be mistaken for a Disney Princess, Mackenzie keeps her kiddos engaged, informed, and present as they discuss everything there is to discuss about the number 4.@kenziiewenz my facial expressions trying to keep kindergarteners engaged in online learning ##onlineschool##fyp##teacher♬ original sound – kenziiewenz
Mackenzie says she originally filmed the video of herself teaching from her classroom for self-evaluation—she wanted to make sure that she was projecting the right energy to keep her students’ attention and focus despite the distance of an online learning platform.
But after posting the video in between classes on Monday, the clip provided people across the internet with a sneak peek at the adaptability and hard work that teachers are putting in to serve their students well during the pandemic.
“I think the video has really given people insight into what early education looks like online,” Mackenzie told BuzzFeed News.
Keeping a bunch of 5-year-olds focused and engaged is no easy feat. Add in the separation of a computer screen and the difficulty of navigating technology—even things like the “mute” button—and it becomes clear that teaching during the pandemic is not for the faint of heart.
“I feel like you really have to up the ante when it comes to facial expressions and arm movements,” she said. “Online, you really have to amp it up.”
Mackenzie says she’s found that everything has to be a little extra, in order to make up for the distance and distractions that inevitably come with the territory.
“In order to keep 5- and 6-year-olds engaged, you really have to do a performance for them,” she said. “I do think that teachers are actors and we have to put on a show for these kids to keep them engaged when they’re in their homes.”@kenziiewenzthanks for all the kind words about teachers in case anyone wanted to stay on kindergarten TikTok here’s a lesson from today ##onlineschool
It’s difficult to keep a smile going the entire time, she said, but it helps keep the kids engaged. When one of her friends saw the video, they asked her if she ever blinked during class.
“I don’t think I blinked,” she said, laughing. “But it does take a toll.”
Mackenzie, who spends three hours a day with her Kindergarteners, says keeping the energy and enthusiasm is exhausting. She often ends her school days with headaches, which she says, “completely makes sense” after watching the video of herself being so animated.
Ultimately, Mackenzie hopes her video gives people an idea of how hard teachers are working to adapt and serve during these unprecedented times.
“Teachers definitely don’t get enough credit for what we do and [people] never get to see teachers in action,” she says, noting that people seem to finally be realizing how taxing it is to be a teacher.