COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Parents are not the only ones weighing their options for this upcoming school year.
One Columbus teacher said she is taking a break from the classroom this year. However, she won’t be taking a break from teaching altogether.
“I’m excited that I can do this for people. I can help them,” said Khelsi Stone who is certified to teach K - 5.
Stone, who taught kindergarten and second grade in Columbus, said something was telling her to take a break from the classroom and take this year for herself amid the pandemic.
“To take this year for my mental health, to breathe, and to make sure that I’m 110 percent ready for the kids,” Stone explained.
Stone had planned on substitute teaching, but said just within the past week or so, she decided to help students who are learning virtually after parents expressed interest to her.
“Give them that safe and comfortable environment, that learning space where they can still have that social interaction and build relationships and we can do the hands on learning and I can kind of tutor them while they’re on their computer during their virtual time,” Stone said.
Stone has room for seven to 10 children in grades kindergarten through second to come to her home while they follow their school’s virtual program from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. during the week. This will include one-on-one time. Stone is also offering tutoring for grades up to fifth in the afternoons. She will be doing this August 17 through September 9, but said it could end up going on longer.
Stone said she has been keeping up with fellow teachers. She said teachers have also helped her make this possible by donating supplies.
“Everything is changing day to day. So, I’m trying to stay on top of it by seeing what’s going on with it during their planning, talking to parents, getting their schedules so I can make a schedule for me of how I’m going to help them with different grade levels and different curriculum,” said Stone.
She’ll be taking temperatures, practicing social distancing, and using hand sanitizer among other safety precautions. Even though her time in the classroom was cut short towards the end of the school year, she said she’s excited to still be working with kids.
“I was nervous about this whole leap of faith I guess, but I think it’ll be fun and exciting. I think I’ll be prepared. I’ve been talking with my kids through Zoom or FaceTime because they realize I’m not going to be their teacher anymore and our time got cut short,” Stone explained.
Stone has all of her classroom supplies in her shed at home and said she plans to make the first day of school special by personalizing it as much as she can.