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online teaching, teacher appreciation

Teaching over Zoom can be rough. It's the little things…

I only have one Zoom meeting a week, and I find myself facing screen fatigue. I can only imagine the challenges that teachers have been continuously facing during this pandemic—overcoming tech issues, keeping the attention of multiple students from a distance, establishing a stimulating educational environment in a literally sense-less virtual space—all this with little help, and oftentimes even less appreciation.

But then again they don’t do it for the praise, they do it out of a genuine calling to help develop young minds. They certainly don’t do it for the pay.

Still, one group of students found the most heartfelt way to surprise their teacher, and it’s a powerful reminder of why education providers should get a “thank you” during this time.


At first, the teacher thinks that none of his students have their cameras on in order to be “cool.”

“Is that the new cool thing to do-not turn your camera on?” he innocently asks during an online class. “I’ve heard that in some classes, nobody turns their camera on, including the instructor.”

Clearly not this instructor. He’s the only one whose face is visible in a sea of Zoom squares.

Trying to laugh it off, he can’t help but ask, “Seriously is it my fault that you have your cameras off?” he’s met with an awkward silence.

Finally, someone speaks up. A student says, “Dr. Brown, we actually kind of wanted to do something.”

The cameras turn on, and instead of faces, the screen is flooding with handwritten notes of gratitude for Dr. Brown.

One of the most visible messages says, “thank you for making a difference every day.”

Moved, Dr. Brown says, “Oh, you guys…you’re gonna make me cry.” And he does.

The video inspired other people to share their own similar stories.

One person wrote, “During the early days of remote learning, I heard my daughter's history teacher trying everything in his power to just get the kids to respond to him saying "good morning, how are you?" Just....silence. Even if he'd call on them individually. All the cameras were off, despite him all but begging them to turn them on. And this was a teacher they LOVED during normal times…Teachers don't have it easy even on normal days...I can't imagine how hard it was trying to pivot to remote, then hybrid, then in-person....then remote....”

Another person added, “My husband is a teacher…Every day, he fights for his kids. Every day. He works longer hours than I do - even though my shifts are ten hours a day - and even as parents yell at him, the administration refuses to provide curriculum and instead gives busywork, and the pandemic makes it all but impossible to keep kids engaged, he keeps trying to give his kids the kindness, empathy, and understanding they deserve. Teachers are doing their utmost right now. Please, be kind to them.”

It’s hard out there right now, for everyone. But little acts of kindness like this really do make a difference. Here’s to a win for human connection.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Democracy

Appalachian mom's speech on Kentucky's proposed abortion ban is a must-hear for everyone

Danielle Kirk is speaking up for those often overlooked in our cultural debates.

Canva, courtesy of Danielle Kirk

Appalachian mom gives passionate speech.

Many people felt a gut punch when the Supreme Court issued its decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned the decades-old Roe v. Wade decision that protected a woman's right to an abortion. However, for some this was a call to action.

Danielle Kirk, 27, a mom of two and an activist on TikTok, used her voice in an attempt to educate the people that make decisions in her small town. Kirk lives in Kentucky where a trigger law came into effect immediately after Roe v. Wade was overturned. Being a former foster child, she knew she had to say something. Kirk spoke exclusively with Upworthy about why she decided to speak up.

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Memories of childhood get lodged in the brain, emerging when you least expect.

There are certain pleasurable sights, smells, sounds and tastes that fade into the rear-view mirror as we grow from being children to adults. But on a rare occasion, we’ll come across them again and it's like a portion of our brain that’s been hidden for years expresses itself, creating a huge jolt of joy.

It’s wonderful to experience this type of nostalgia but it often leaves a bittersweet feeling because we know there are countless more sensations that may never come into our consciousness again.

Nostalgia is fleeting and that's a good thing because it’s best not to live in the past. But it does remind us that the wonderful feeling of freedom, creativity and fun from our childhood can still be experienced as we age.

A Reddit user by the name of agentMICHAELscarnTLM posed a question to the online forum that dredged up countless memories and experiences that many had long forgotten. He asked a simple question, “What’s something you can bring up right now to unlock some childhood nostalgia for the rest of us?”

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