Classroom Champion: Fifth-grade teacher says nothing else matters ‘except for these kids’

Fifth-grade teacher says nothing else matters ‘except for these kids’

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - The next Classroom Champion was nominated for emerging as an incredible leader and organizer, and tackling any obstacle with a “gentle giggle and smile."

“Everything else doesn’t matter right now except for these kids, no matter all the stress that’s going on. Nothing matters when you’re in the classroom and you’re teaching them," said Megan Coakley, a fifth-grade teacher at Ocean Bay Elementary School.

Coakley is in her fourth year of teaching. She completed her student teaching in Ireland, got her master’s degree and taught kindergarten before moving into her current role.

This year has its changes. Coakley said with the obstacles she has been blown away by her students' resilience.

“I didn’t know how they would react to having to wear the mask and stay six feet apart, but it was like they were little adults and they already knew before they walked in and I’m sure their parents had prepped them for that and I’m thankful for it." she said. "There hasn’t been any complaints about anything. Well, except recess, of course.”

Speaking of recess, Coakley said after the first day of school the kids got creative.

“They came back with this list of games they could play six feet apart with face masks that they weren’t touching," she said. "It’s just amazing to me these kids can take something that can be such a damper for other people and they’ve totally went with it and said that won’t stop us from playing at recess.”

Inside the classroom, Coakley has noticed some positive changes too.

"I have about nine kids in my classroom each day and I have gotten to know each one of them at such a different level than I have before, because it’s so much more one-on-one and they are more engaged and there aren’t 28 other students that they are nervous to raise their hand in front of, or they are fighting for attention,” she said.

No matter where the learning is taking place, Coakley said her students can do virtually anything.

“It is crazy. They love it but they do also still love that old fashioned paper and pencil work, so I do love giving them that too,” she said.

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