In the spirit of celebrating our local heroes this week, we decided to take an amazing moment to sit down and chat with a super hero who has been serving her community for almost twenty years – and counting!
This week, local public school teacher, Brandy Demeris, sat down with us and shared a little bit about her experience as a teacher working with young ones during Covid. We all know that teachers lead the way in selfless acts and working hard to be a super hero to each and every one of their students. Keep reading to really understand what an undertaking it has been for teachers across the country to keep their students learning in these uncertain times.
Don’t miss out on our Super Hero Container Garden Kit – created specifically for you to have an opportunity to express your gratitude this holiday season. Check it out!
Who is Brandy?
Brandy has been serving her community, and teaching in public schools for the last nineteen years of her life. She currently teaches english language arts, reading, and writing to about 120 fifth grade students. “This is my eleventh year teaching 5th grade,” Demeris shared, “The kids are ten, turning eleven; a lot of maturity happens in these years. I really enjoy seeing them grow.”
“My favorite part about being a teacher is seeing the change in the students – the growth.”Brandy Demeris
Brandy’s Teaching Philosophy
Brandy shared with us how imperative it is that, as a teacher, you create a space for your students to feel heard, safe, and supported. In this type of atmosphere, children are much more likely to experience growth and success academically, as well as socially, emotionally, and individually.
“I say this all the time,” she explained, “happy kids learn more; if you create an environment where the kids are happy, safe and secure, they’re going to learn so much more than those who are in a space where they feel threatened. I do feel that you can totally shape the child through their learning experience.”
“It’s about the whole child; it’s just as much about the content as it is about meeting the kid’s needs.”
Teaching Through Covid
When asked how her job has changed with the arrival of Covid19, Demeris said, “My job has basically doubled, because anything that I’ve planned for the class, I then have to scan it for the kids who are working online. Then, just the responsibility of adapting to make sure that the class is catered to both sets of students – that’s a whole different task.”
Brandy explained that one of the biggest challenges that has come along with this new teaching format is that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to engage students in a meaningful way, especially when it comes to students who are learning from home.
“Sometimes the kids will get off of zoom, they won’t attend class, or they’ll walk away from zoom to play video games or watch tv,” Brandy said, “So to try and reach them, and get the material to them, and manage the kids that are in the classroom in front of me – It’s like being an accountant and working in a grocery store at the same time.”
Being There for the Kids
No matter who you are, or what your background is, immense change without warning is always difficult to adjust to.
Now, imagine you’re a fifth-grade student whose life has totally been flipped upside down – in this set of circumstances, it’s imperative that a support system exists to make sure you don’t fail. That’s where teachers come into the picture.
“Most of the kids in our neighborhood have been here since pre-k, and they look so forward to 5th grade,” Demeris shared, “there’s a lot of perks that come with age, and they’re missing out on all of those.
We’ve all been working through trying to calm these expectations that they’ve had about this year in school for years prior. We’re not having field trips, we sit 2 to a table, and everyone faces the same way during lunch, which is the most social time for kids – that and recess.
“The toughest thing has been calming the disappointment of their expectations, because they’ve all changed. And recognizing that those people at home, they’re missing out on all of it.”Brandy Demeris
Brandy’s Wellness Practice
As someone who works morning, noon, and night to be there for her students, it’s been increasingly important for Brandy to take some time to decompress after a rigorous day of teaching and supporting her classroom.
“Every day, I’ve been walking with a good friend that I hadn’t spent a lot of time with prior to Covid,” Brandy said, “honestly I was working 12 hours a day, and didn’t have time to do much else.
During covid, we kind of reconnected, so now we get together a couple days a week and we just walk. It’s truly been a game-changer; just walking away from school at the end of the day some days, just for that commitment, has helped so much.”
Don’t forget, it’s never selfish to take time for yourself – especially when you spend so much of your time for the benefit of others.
Share Your Growth
This year, it’s important to recognize and celebrate the work that all of our local super heroes are committing to each and every day to make our lives better, easier, and safer. Share your gratitude with these heroes by giving them the gift of growth with our Super Hero Container Garden Kit. Click here to learn more.