Hyde adjusts to online classes

Published 7:41 am Tuesday, May 5, 2020

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Growing up, Norma Hyde was always around kids as her mother was the neighborhood babysitter. Whenever kids would come over, Hyde would help her mother take care of the them. This led her into a life of teaching.

For the last 33 years, Hyde has been educating the youth of southeast Alabama. Outside of a couple of years as a third and fourth-grade teacher, she has been teaching first grade or kindergarten.

“I love my kids,” Hyde said. “It is awesome to see their little minds work.”

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Hyde started teaching in Phenix City, teaching first grade and kindergarten at Meadowlane Elementary School.

She taught at Meadowlane from 1987-2014.

After the 2013-14 school year, she made the move to LaFayette and started teaching at Chambers Academy. Her favorite part of teaching at Chambers is the involvement parents take in their children’s learning.

“If anything is going on, I have beautiful parental involvement,” Hyde said. “In public school, It was a struggle. But if I need something or I say something, my parents are there for me.”

One way that Hyde repays that parental involvement is by continuing to check up on their children once they leave her classroom. Whenever one of the students needs her, Hyde is there to help them out. If they need it, Hyde will tutor former students if they come to her for help.

“I don’t like seeing children fall behind their peers, so I want to give them the extra help they need,” Hyde said.

Hyde, like many other teachers, has been forced to change the way she’s always taught. Instead of being able to see a problem or confusion, she is having to rely on parents to reach out for any questions.

“That parent interaction is really what’s helped me. If [the students] are having a problem, the parents will contact me and say ‘Look, she’s just not understanding it. Can you explain it to her or can we explain it to her,’ and we sit down and work out a plan,” Hyde said. “Having parental involvement is really fantastic. When they are struggling and you’re not there, the parents will let you know.”

On Mondays, families pick up packets of work to do throughout the week. The students also get a little gift from Hyde so they can have something new to play with during the week.

This week, Hyde bought water guns to give out to the students and their families. She bought big ones for her students and little ones for the other family members.

Other weeks, she’s given the students toys from the toy box that is normally in her classroom.

“I try to do something to make it fun for them,” Hyde said.

On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, Hyde holds a Zoom call with her entire class. This way they can go over a lesson and just talk. It is her favorite part of the week.

“When I get to Zoom with my kids or if they have a problem and they call me on FaceTime to talk through their lesson, that’s my favorite time,” Hyde said.

On Tuesdays, Hyde goes over a lesson with the class. This week she is teaching when to properly use the pronouns I and me. On Thursday, she will go over the lesson again, making sure that no one has any questions.

She is always ready to take a call or a FaceTime from her students, but Hyde also has found videos that go over the day’s lesson for her students to reference in case they have questions.

The science, history and spelling classes have all been moved online as well. The class uses Spelling City, a website that allows students to play games with their spelling words instead of making them write sentences and putting the words in alphabetical order, which were some of the activities the students were doing at school. The website also allows the students to take tests on the site, so it is easier for both them and Hyde.

She is able to record the grades and notice if students are missing the same word on different games.

“I try to give them plenty of opportunities to succeed,” Hyde said.