VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Susan Anderson is dusting off the textbooks and stepping back into her role as a teacher - except her classroom is now her living room.
“I have four desks in one room and three in another,” she said.
Anderson was an elementary teacher at Alanton Elementary in the Virginia Beach City Public Schools system for nearly 30 years.
After retiring a year ago, she realized how much she missed being in the classroom. With many schools starting virtually and many parents juggling both roles of teacher and parent, Anderson wanted to help.
For a small fee, she’ll be tutoring a handful of kids from kindergarten to third grade until in-person instruction is back in session.
“I’ll be monitoring their computer stuff, just making sure they’re paying attention to the best of their ability,” Anderson said.
The former teacher is also planning on helping the kids with their reading skills.
“I’m hoping I will do a reading group with them,” said Anderson. “You can’t touch a book virtually. When they’re young readers, they need hands-on books.”
Julie Kelley is a busy mom of two young kids, Jack and Anna. Jack will be heading into the third grade while Anna will be starting first grade at Virginia Beach City Public Schools.
Anna has been practicing her reading with Anderson for the last couple of weeks.
“Tell us what you love about Mrs. Anderson?” Kelley said to her daughter.
Anna responded, “She’s nice and fun.”
Kelley also an elementary teacher with VBCPS and said while she’s working with her classroom kids, she needs an extra set of hands for her own kids, so she hired Anderson.
“I won’t be available to assist my own kids when we need to troubleshoot technology issues, or if they have a question on an assignment,” she said. “As a teacher going back to school this fall, it’s just nice to have one less thing to worry about.”
Kelley’s confident her children will get a quality education from their public school teachers in Virginia Beach, but said Anderson will be there to help fill the gaps.
“I’m looking for Susan for kind of daycare in that regard but also so much more,” Kelley said. “She’s really gone above and beyond already this summer with making an effort to connect with my children. It’s phenomenal what she’s doing.”
Sarah Turgeon of Virginia Beach is also a mother and a working parent. She teaches elementary school in Norfolk and hired Anderson to help her son, Henry, as he starts kindergarten.
Anderson said teachers went into the profession to have face-to-face interactions with students.
”By nature, teachers are relationship builders,” she said. “We really like kids and so we want to be around kids. We don’t want to be on the computer with them.”