‘Teacher of the Week’ virtually teaches third-graders from home

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BURGAW, NC (WWAY) — Some students across the Cape Fear have returned back to class for in-person instruction but a number are still learning remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Alice Cuthbertson is a teacher at C.F. Pope Elementary School in Burgaw. Since the pandemic began last March, she’s taught third-grade students from her home in Rocky Point.

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“We don’t have a living room anymore,” she said. “We moved everything from the living room to the den and I just took over.”

WWAY received a nomination recommending Cuthbertson for her dedication to virtual learning and we selected her as our ‘Teacher of the Week.’

Four days a week, Cuthbertson’s 19 students log in from home and join her for class. She says teaching in a virtual environment is very different.

“I was used to being in the classroom with the children and if someone needed help, you can just walk up to them,” she said.

Due to her health, Cuthbertson says she grateful to be able to teach from home to limit potential exposure from others with Covid-19.

“I have rheumatoid arthritis and once a month I have to take chemo because of my immune system,” she said. “About once a month I go to the grocery store and then I go for my infusions, otherwise, I am at home.”

In her entire 25-year teaching career, Cuthbertson says she’s never worked harder.

“I usually start my day at 6:45 a.m., my children log on at 8:30 a.m. and I am with them from 8:30 a.m. to 12:10 p.m.,” she said.

Her afternoons are spent planning for the next day’s lessons or working one-on-one with students online who require additional instruction.

Cuthbertson says she sets the bar high for her remote learners.

“They’re graded on their work, just like if they were face-to-face, they take tests, they have formative assessments,” she said.

A 1996 graduate of UNCW, she has taught her entire career at C.F. Pope Elementary and says her biggest reward for teaching is hearing from former students.

“I want them to be able to be proud of what they’ve become whether they’re working in construction or going to college,” she said. “I just like to see my students succeed.”

Cuthbertson was pleased we picked her as our ‘Teacher of the Week.’

“For you guys to take the time to recognize us, means so much to me,” she said. “You don’t do this job to be recognized, but when you are, its just so humbling, that people are noticing what we do.”

Cuthbertson is looking forward to being able to return back to the school to work, but until then she’s determined to continue making a difference in the lives of young scholars, no matter where her classroom may be.

If you know a teacher who is making an impact, click here to send us a nomination. Each week’s winner receives a $100 gift card.