Highlighting Educators: Suzanne Tomek


Editor’s Note: The COVID-19 pandemic has forced school districts to adjust the way they educate their students. The Inquirer reached out to local districts to highlight the different ways teachers are reaching out to their kids. Responses have been slightly edited for style purposes. These questionnaires were filled out before Gov. Abbott’s announcement that campuses would be closed for the remainder of the school year.

Suzanne Tomek is the 3rd grade ELA teacher at Gonzales Elementary

What are some ways you’re staying connected with your students online?

Email, Google Classroom, Remind Messaging

What inspired you to stay connected?

To stay connected, I have access to my students email to invite them to Google classroom, and had previously set up Remind earlier in the year.

What kind of reaction have you gotten since connecting online with your students? Were you surprised? Did it exceed expectations?

The reaction I received by connecting with my students was very heartfelt. It put a huge smile on my face. I realized the joy that my students give me and reassured me why I am a teacher!

Why do you feel it was important for you to stay connected to the kids this way?

It is important to stay connected to my students to continue their learning and the relationships that we have already made during this difficult time in our world. I want my students to know that I still care for them, and that I’m here for them as well.

How is your workspace setup at home? Are you using your phone? Tablet? Different lighting?

My workspace is my home. No certain setup. I’m either at the table in the kitchen or mostly in my recliner. Constantly using my phone and laptop.

What’s the one message you wish to convey to others during this time?

We will get through this together, because we are strong! We all stand as ONE!

Anything else you’d like to share? Could be a fun behind-the-scenes story, or the difficulties of working from home. 

This first week of Remote Learning has made me realize how much I’d rather be in the classroom instead of in front of a laptop all day with no sweet little smiling faces! As humans, we are very sociable and we need that human contact. I miss not being able to hug my students every morning, their cute conversations that make me laugh, and their presence. I have had to teach myself how to use Google Classroom, use my phone more than I ever had before, and help parents so they can help my students. I would say it has been very difficult, but I have also taken from all this a new sense of learning. We will get through this, as it makes us stronger, and life will come again in the classroom!