Teachers to students: We miss you
MANSON — Amanda Sigler parked her van in a driveway along Main Street in Manson Tuesday afternoon and waited with her children, Hadley Sigler, 7 and Easton Sigler, 10.
The pair did summersaults, wrestled and blew off some steam in the grass along the street.
Nearby, a mother and her two children set on their front steps.
The social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic kept the two groups apart.
It has also kept them out of school, neither has seen their teachers or friends since it closed March 16.
The teachers haven’t seen their students, either.
That ended Tuesday when a group of Manson Northwest Webster teachers in about 20 cars made their way around town in a Teachers Parade. It started near the school and ended near the school, after going down just about every street in town.
Elaine Merritt, an elementary special education teacher, found a few balloons in the school colors and decorated her car.
She misses her students and is concerned for them.
“I do,” Merritt said. “I’m missing them a lot. We’re losing ground. It’s not just my kids, everybody loses ground when they’re not here.”
There was no preplanned parade route.
“I’m just following the leader,” she said.
Wade Niewoehner, a sixth-grade teacher, was getting a new experience. Attaching balloons to his van.
The missing goes both ways, he said. He misses his students, he hopes, they miss him.
“In some way or another,” he joked.
He’s working on ways to keep his own children busy at home and he’s also exploring ways to stay in touch with his students online.
Jenna Waller is also a sixth-grade teacher. She brought her son, Hunter Hammen, 7, to go along.
“I do miss them,” she said. “They were a really great group of kids.”
She isn’t sure they miss her.
“I hope they do,” she joked.
Hammen had mixed feelings about missing his friends in school.
“Half of them,” he joked.
He’s enjoying his time at home though.
“I’d rather be at home,” he said. “I’m too tired at school.”
Kindergarten teacher Jan Nelson misses her students too. She made a sign for her car to greet them during the drive around town.
She’s doing some remote teaching.
“I just did a Zoom where I read them a story,” she said. “Friday is science day, we call it Fun Friday, I’ll be doing a science experiment they can do at home with me.”
They miss her too.
“I’ve gotten letters from some of them,” she said.
She’s doing fine on the one item that seems to have disappeared, toilet paper.
“We will survive,” she said.
Along with her human family, preschool teacher Janet Olson-Egli brought along the family dog Piper. She went with a Christmas motif that included lights on her vehicle and a Santa suit on Piper.
“Everybody likes Christmas, it’s something to make the kids smile,” she said.
It’s been rough on her students.
“I don’t know that a 4-year-old understands why they can’t come to school,” she said. “We’ve got some amazing parents though, they’ve been working with them and talking to them.”
The parade was a beautifully noisy event. The teachers honked their horns along the route, socially distanced groups of students waved, held up signs and smiled at them along the route.
The one thing they didn’t do was drop off homework.
“No,” Easton Sigler said. “No homework.”