COLUMBIA - A Columbia Public Schools teacher is going viral on TikTok, a video-sharing social network, as she showcases her journey as a kindergarten teacher through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dawnavyn James is on her second year teaching at Parkade Elementary School. She said this past year has been stressful for teachers, but her students keep her motivated.
"I have a great group of kids who are taking this journey with me," James said. "I couldn't ask for a better group of kindergarteners to do this year with."
James makes TikTok videos, showing herself and her different day to day experiences as a kindergarten teacher. When classes went fully online, she said she wanted to save these moments, describing it as a new experience for her and her students.
"I thought I should document this so people can see what teachers are going through as they teach kids virtually online," James said. "I had teachers say 'it looks like I am looking at myself and what we went through today.'"
James said her videos help connect with other teachers all over the nation.
"So many people were commenting that they enjoyed the videos. They say it helps them get through their school day and it reminded them of their own classroom," James said.
Kindergarten parent Hannah Watts said it's been a great experience to watch her daughter learn from James.
"It's been really fun as a parent to be a fly on the wall and experience not only what she is teaching, but how she is teaching it," Watts said.
Watts' daughter, Mackenzie, said she loves having class with James.
"You can just tell in her overall mood. She was beaming," Watts said. "You can tell the parts where she is really engaged. She loves Ms. James."
Kindergarten student Landon is another fan of his teacher. When asked his favorite thing about James, he said, "everything."
Another student, Hannah, said she enjoys having her as a teacher.
"She's really fun," Hannah said.
"Kindergarten is a big deal, so I want to make it as exciting as I can for them," James said.
Watts said James has shared a positive learning environment, encouraging all of her students.
"It's very easy to see how happy our daughter is with her," Watts said. "We are grateful for Ms. James and what she is doing."
To take a look at how James' (or @dawnahtelloh) is engaging students, take a look at her Tik Tok profile here!