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'We will always be a class' | Parkway teacher sends message to students

Mandy Williams has been teaching for 13 years, but virtual learning is new for her and many other educators

MANCHESTER, Mo. — When Mandy Williams realized she did not know when she would see her first-grade students in the classroom again, she wanted to send them a message.

"I knew if I talked, I would start crying," said Williams, who teaches at Barretts Elementary School in the Parkway School District.

So, Williams recorded a video with messages written on paper that she held up.

"I miss you very much," one message said.

"You might feel sad.

"That's OK."

Williams posted the video message on her classroom's page and the district picked it up, posting it on its Facebook page.

She said it's a message that is resonating with teachers, students and parents, as they work through distance learning.

"I just think my main goal is to make sure they felt connected to school," she said.

This week, Williams did a video chat with her 19 first-graders. Although she does not know when she will be able to see them in person, she is grateful for the technology that allows her to see her students online.

"Whenever we logged on to the video chat, I started tearing up," she said. "I knew that was going to happen. It’s definitely different for sure."

Williams wanted her students to know that even if there is uncertainty in their world, there is one thing that won't change.

"We will always be a class. I love you!"

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