Despite the gloomy weather, it was all smiles in the parking lot of Urbana Elementary School Wednesday afternoon as a line of cars paraded to honor kindergarten teacher Shannon Vetter.

Vetter stood on the sidewalk for almost two hours as her students passed by in cars, waving, showing off posters they had made and chatting with their teacher whom many haven’t seen in person for almost two months.

“It was wonderful. It was very overwhelming for me to process, but I’m so appreciative that they organized it,” Vetter said.

Wednesday’s parade was just one way Frederick County educators are being recognized for Teacher Appreciation Week, which is being celebrated nationally through Friday.

Melissa Dirks, president of the Frederick County Teachers Association, said it’s important this year more than ever to celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week.

“They have had to adapt, modify and learn how to deliver instruction in a whole new way with very little lead time,” Dirks said. “But they did what they always do – they jumped right in and did what needed to be done to support their students.”

Vetter said she kept apologizing to each family for the long wait, but added that no one seemed to care.

“I think they understood that I couldn’t just wave, you know, everyone wanted to talk,” Vetter said.

Parents Sherry Mineer and Sangeeta Gupta organized the parade. They both have children in Vetter’s class.

Mineer said they wanted to do something that would honor Vetter but also bring everyone together in a safe way. After seeing the amount of birthday car parades taking place amid the pandemic, she said they knew a car parade of their own would be the right fit.

It was also a way to allow students to see each other and lift everyone’s spirits Mineer said.

“Things aren’t normal and any sense of normalcy like seeing their teacher or classmates, I feel like it brings them back,” Mineer said. “I feel like these little things just helps keep everybody looking forward.”

Vetter, who has taught at Urbana Elementary for six years, said she misses her students tremendously and has found it challenging to not be with them every day.

“It’s super weird to be talking to them but staring at my computer ... you feel the isolation for sure,” Vetter said. “Especially when you see a kid who’s maybe lost their tooth – I would have seen that the next day but now they’re like, yeah, I lost it four weeks ago.”

Vetter has found creative ways to still see her students, in some sense even if just through her screen.

Recently, Vetter got approval for her students to begin recording video responses to their “morning question” and sending it back to her.

At first, receiving the video messages was overwhelming after not seeing or hearing her students for over a month.

“I just lost it. I was like, oh, my gosh, I forgot what your voice sounds like or you lost two teeth and you got a haircut,” Vetter said.

Vetter said she soon realized that although nothing will beat being in a classroom, having the time to watch and respond to her students’ video messages has been beneficial.

“I’m learning more about the kids than I normally would because when I ask a question [in class] in the morning I can’t always have all 26 [students] answer,” she said.

Gupta said Vetter has been a “rock of support” for both students and parents.

“For parents, I think we’ve realized just how big of a role teachers play...somehow they’re able to give attention to each child [in class] and build a nurturing environment,” Gupta said. “I think school teachers deserve every ounce of credit that we can give them.”

Vetter said the parade is one of the best displays of appreciation she’s ever received.

She said she felt a bit like a Disney character while standing on the sidewalk as cars of excited students made the rounds.

“I’m freezing and I’m still shivering, but I’m on a high right now,” she said.

Follow Katryna Perera on Twitter: @katrynajill

(25) comments

jayel86

Being able to teach online in your sweats drinking coffee is hardly an adaption, they're lives just hit easier.

girlpolitic

This demonstrates that the FCTA will do anything to exploit their importance. I hope this does not happen but consider this hypothetical; the teacher became infected during this stunt and takes it home and infects other family members. Tracing proves she was infected during this event can she or does she then file a "workman's comp claim?

KellyAlzan

You can tell who has children in these posts.

My kids kindergarten teacher had their hands full. Teaching Kindergarten children is probably the most challenging and demanding grade to teach. I made it a point on my kids last days to send their kindergarten teachers a not saying “your efforts and hard work have not gone unnoticed, thank you for everything you’ve done”.

Sallyann

Where are the masks? This isn’t social distancing, and sets a poor example. Probably a poor decision to have photos like that, and it really does add a negative feel to the whole story. I thought Frederick was smarter than this.

jayel86

Get over the mask thing, this is not communist china, no matter how much the dems wish it were. And please people outside wearing masks, do a little research or see a psychiatrist

jayel86

And no it has nothing to do with public health before you begin the triad

KellyAlzan

Why? What did the teacher do? Last I heard they were ordered at home like the rest of the nonessentials. Cept they’re still being paid.

Greg F

They're teaching remotely. Really...are you that ignorant and uninformed as to kids currently learning online? Wow.....how utterly and completely ignorant. Lead? Or lead-headed....as in rhymes with led. I go with the latter.

rbtdt5

They are. They have to work about 2 hours a day now. Log-in twice a day just to answer questions. At first I thought WFT but it was explained that when a home has 2-3 kids and only one computer not all the kids can be on it 6 hours a day at the same time. Made sense, but why are we still paying teacher full salary when their contract says 7.5 hours per day?

rbtdt5

Maybe we should save the "thank you" for people that still have to put on pants to go work.

CheetoBenito

As he sits at home at his kitchen table, in his underwear, banging his keyboard.

rbtdt5

Cheeto, I go to work everyday. But you can sit there and guess and judge. Good job little buddy

Greg F

There are many of us who work very hard at home too. Some of us work on vital things also that help keep you safe....pants optional.

Steve Neilsen

Ribbit says: “ Maybe we should save the "thank you" for people that still have to put on pants to go work.”

JFC. Is your ego *that* fragile?

rbtdt5

Please explain what teachers are doing above and beyond what they are paid to do? Why do you feel the need to thank them? Please help me understand.

Steelers412

Do you thank police officer or firefighters? Yes teachers aren’t arresting bad people or putting out fires, but they know there students sometimes better then the family. They are a warm hug to a child that needs one or helping them we’ll after the allotted time for instruction. Teachers treat students like one of there own kids. Most times supplies come out of there own pockets. Students need teaching and teachers need students. Please better you make a comment like what do teachers do above and beyond to deserve thanks. Ask a teacher they will tell you. With that said Frederick County has the best educators around, thank you for all you do!

rbtdt5

Right now teachers are not hugging kids, the school has supplied the tablets (only supply anyone needs right now). I agree Frederick has great teachers, just not worthy of a special thank you right now.

Greg F

rbt...just go back under your bridge you jealous little troll.

Steelers412

You’re wrong on this one.

rbtdt5

How many new names are you going to use Vic?

Roofstarr

Wonderful. But where are the masks?

Frayou

My thoughts as well. Unfortunate, this factor will redirect attention away from the initial focus of appreciation for teacher.

Greg F

Nice thought but that does not look like social distancing at all. Be an example...this picture shows irresponsibility.

steelersfan2005

no masks? Surely she was closer than 6 feet to the kids at some points.

hazel

Unfortunately that was my thought. I would have expected better, especially a front page photo! Non the less, congratulations.

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