TEMPLE, TX — During the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the places that saw the most drastic change was the classroom. For some teachers who had to start their careers in the middle of all of it, last year was full of unexpected challenges.
Emma and Bryant King, a married couple working as teachers for Temple ISD, had to work quickly to navigate masks, social distancing and e-learning with elementary and middle schoolers, respectively.
"We're 23, fresh out of college, have no idea what we're doing and it's a pandemic...and we just got married," Emma King said of last fall.
"This year was a good year for change and progress because none of us came in comfortable," Bryant King said.
They had to adapt to teaching styles they didn't learn in college, and neither did any of the more experienced teachers around them.
"No one really knew what to expect, so all of the people that really wanted to help you were like, 'We're in this together,'" Emma King said.
This year in Temple ISD schools, masks aren't required, but recommended, and all learning will be in person.
The couple is looking forward to seeing their student's faces and being able to build better relationships with them.
"Actually having them be in class, work together, and being able to be there when they need me. Instead of being an email away, I'm a hand raise away," Bryant King said.
Emma explained that one of her biggest challenges this past school year was trying to keep her first graders safe, distanced and masked without making them fearful of the situation.
Now, she's hoping schools can safely have less restrictions for the sake of her students.
"I think that this year is gonna be a breath of fresh air for everyone," she said.
Now, the couple is more than prepared for the start of their second year of teaching that's just three weeks away.
"Contrary to popular belief, teachers don't become teachers for the summer," Bryant said. "We became teachers for the kids. Never thought I'd say it, but halfway through the summer we both looked at each other and said, 'I'm ready to go back.'"