PERQUIMANS, NC (WAVY) — In early 2022, the National Educators Association surveyed nearly 3 million educators.
55% of respondents said they could leave teaching sooner than expected, largely due to the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic. There are, of course, many teachers who stick around and fight through the challenges.
A teacher from North Carolina has actually returned to the industry amid the pandemic.
Robin Copeland is an elementary school art teacher at Hertford Grammar School in Perquimans County. Her classroom is a room full of color, wonder, fun and self-expression. It is a place to learn, try and grow.
“We did clay, we did weaving, paint, chalk, pastels, all different types of mediums,” Copeland said. “I want them to experiment with everything they can do to see where their talents lie.”
Copeland returned to class in the fall of 2021 after a seven-year absence. She said, “I have my own kids, but I love being with other kids, interacting with other kids, and creating art with them.”
She is now in her fifth year of teaching.
Even in a pandemic, knowing there would be challenges, she followed her call.
“Every kid has a talent, and whether they know it or not,” Copeland said. “It’s just fun to watch them experiment and find that talent.”
His students are grateful.
“She’s the best art teacher,” fifth grader Casey said. “She helps a lot and does so much to help us and understand what we are doing.”
But for Copeland, it’s not just about “helping” his students, it’s about seeing them grow.
“They may struggle in a certain subject or sport, but when they come to the art they excel, and just seeing that confidence when they go into other areas and impact those other areas, it makes a difference,” Copeland said.