Teachers create chalk art on students' driveway to lift spirits

Posted at 2:17 PM, May 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-20 19:57:15-04

Off-campus instruction for students can cause loneliness, isolation and feelings of despair. Although teachers are teaching students through video conferences several times a week, it is not the same as face-to-face interaction.

Fairview/Miss Jewell Librarian Cristine Ragland virtually read to students the book, The Chalk Giraffe, about chalk pictures on a young girl’s driveway. She suggested to third grade teachers that chalk messages to students might be something to let students know they are not alone in these uncertain times.

“We are so close to all of our students, so we decided that we would go write chalk messages on all of their driveways,” third grade teacher Teresa Gorres said. “All five third grade teachers participated and there was never any hesitation on any of our parts. We drove 55 miles in six hours to complete the project. We had no idea we had traveled that many miles and were out that long. It was so fulfilling in our hearts to be able to spread the message to all of our students.”

Twice a week, Schoology conferences are conducted with students. Some students are not able to attend often or at all, and the teachers wanted all of the students to know they are missed.

"We wanted to show them that our love for them extends past the walls of our classroom and that we care for them where ever they are," teacher Ben Wadsworth said.

For efficiency, school secretary, Tracye Smart, grouped the addresses of the students together based on where they lived. The teachers headed out on foot to visit students who live nearby the school and then continued by car.

Parents nor students knew they were coming and were surprised to come out of the house and find the team of teachers in their driveways. Some waved from their windows as they watched; some came out on their front porches and watched.

“It is amazing to me, the compassion the teachers at this school show their children. Avery has nothing but positive things to say from anyone he accepts instruction from at that school," parent Emett Hare said.

The teachers and students gave air hugs and chatted about their excitement to see each other, even at a distance.

"We had no idea it would make such a big impact on our students when we decided to do it,” teacher Kasey Carlton said. “We just wanted them to know we care about them and miss them."

Then, a barrage of emails, video messages and social media shout-outs from parents and students were sent to the teachers.