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People Making A Difference: Teachers Give It Their All To Reach Students Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Teachers, like many, had to quickly learn to do their jobs from home in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

"I have never Zoomed before in my life," Heather Hoshino, a kindergarten teacher, said. "This is brand new."

Hoshino, who teaches at Saint Mark's School in Altadena, was forced to transform her guest room into a virtual classroom for 5- and 6-year-olds.

"I think every teacher out there is concerned and overwhelmed with the idea of having to teach from home," she said.

But with decades of teaching experience to guide her, Hoshino has incorporated a variety of techniques to keep her young students engaged — including costumes and affirming hand signals.

And she's started amping up her classes, learning new ways to record and instruct, introducing themes like superhero week.

Across town, Lupin Hill Elementary third grade teacher Beth Arcudi sent her students home from their Calabasas school with a copy of Charlotte's Web, and encouraged them to become a character from the beloved children's book.

"I just want to motivate them a little more online because it's already hard enough to keep their attention," she said.

Her students took part in the Zoom meeting, pointing out how unbelievable it was for Charlotte to write words in the web and how the characters interacted with one another.

"It just warmed by heart to see them so engaged in the story and the characters and getting that love for literature," she said.

And while remote learning has posed its fair share of challenges — spotty WiFi, dropped signals and issues with the mute button — these teachers, like countless others across the nation, continue to show up for their students.

"We're doing the best we can," Arcudi said.

In addition to instructing live on Zoom for the first time in their careers, these two teachers are also learning how to produce taped video tutorials so students can continue learning.

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