FORT WORTH, Texas — As we begin Teacher Appreciation Week, there is plenty of appreciation in Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD for a 6th grade math teacher. Because in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis, with schools closed and students limited to on-line distance learning, he sometimes makes house calls.
River Trails Elementary, like schools everywhere, is a pretty quiet and lonely place right now. And for students like Cade Hunter, a 6th grader with high-functioning autism, learning at home can be a pretty lonely process too. And one day last week, his online session with his favorite match teacher "Mr. B" was not going well.
"We've circled back around to geometry," Christopher Butts, AKA "Mr. B" said of the course work they are re-visiting after sessions in geometry and algebra ended right before the school closed at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis nation-wide.
And for Cade the word problems were causing a lot of problems.
"Well the first issue was on my end," said Mr. B. "I kept having problems with technology."
So with neither their online meeting nor the concepts properly connecting, Mr. B decided to cut to the chase.
"Eventually I said I'll just come over there."
Cade's mom took a single picture of the driveway class. Mr. B was seated on a front yard retaining wall with a white board perched on top of a plastic egg crate for a desk. Cade sat in the driveway in an outdoor chair with a TV tray to hold his class notes. Properly socially distanced, Mr. B stayed 45 minutes until Cade understood it all again.
"When I got here and we were able to talk face to face, you could tell this is really what he needs more than anything," Mr. B said.
"It's dedication. It is dedication," Cade's mom Tatum Hunter said.
Which is what she wrote on her Facebook page, praising the teacher. "If that's not dedication," she wrote, "I'm not sure what is."
"For him to go above and beyond to focus it down on one kids, it's special. That's a special teacher," she told WFAA. "I mean, he's an amazing teacher."
Last year Mr. B was the Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD teacher of the year. Now we know why.
"I'm just doing what I think probably most of the teachers that I work with would do, really," he said. "There's a lot of good teachers right now doing a lot of good things, and I wish they could all be recognized. "
Cade's dad, by the way, works in health care. That's why there's a sign for those heroes in their front yard that says "thank you health care workers." And in Mr. B, they say they have another hero too.
"They have great teachers at my school," Cade said.
Great teachers doing great things wherever that school, or that classroom, might happen to be.