MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - A fifth-grade teacher at Riverside Elementary School and a Coastal Carolina University graduate is this week’s Classroom Champion.
Kayla Sliger said she originally wanted to be a social worker, but after working at a summer camp for a few years she decided to pursue elementary education and become a teacher.
“And it’s been the gift ever since," Sliger said. “I just realized how much I love connecting with them and being a part of their growth."
Sliger lights up when she talks about her students and said her passion to teach comes from them.
“When you come in everyday and we do hugs and high fives and our individual handshakes at the end of every day with all of my kids and just knowing that they need you and that you are making such a difference in their lives keeps me going every single day,” Sliger said.
She said she misses those face-to-face interactions at Riverside Elementary and never expected the school year would end the way it did because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We walked out that last Friday and said, ‘See you Monday,' and it was never a Monday," Sliger said.
It became a new world of teaching online and Sliger knew she wanted her students to know she was still always available for them.
"Because you know mom and dad still have to do it all. They have to go to work and make all their meals and they are still trying to be a parent and a teacher as well. I’ve been trying to do that through the screen and give them as much structure as possible.”
During her zoom classes at home, a reminder is right next to her - a sign that reads “It takes a BIG heart to teach little minds.”
“While I know they are struggling, they have really persevered through it all and I think especially going into middle school. I think this is a really good life lesson to learn,” Sliger said.
Sliger got emotional thinking about the message for her students during this time.
“Just the way they have overcome it and dealt with something I have never seen in my 25 years of living and they are conquering it as 10-years-olds and I am just so proud of them," she said.