The coronavirus has pushed almost all classes online, leading to a real change of life for many. Recently, while on a Zoom call, one educator realized that something had become very wrong with one student’s grandparent. That’s when the teacher turned into a real-life hero!
A Zoom Call Goes Wrong
Julia Koch, a first-grade teacher at a Michigan elementary school, has adapted quite well to teaching virtually. In fact, she regularly logs on early to help any of her students who have trouble with distanced learning. One morning last month, just before class started, Cynthia Phillips, a grandmother of one of Koch’s students, called the teacher on Zoom, asking for help. It seems that she was having some technical difficulties while trying to charge a school-loaned tablet. However, immediately, the educator noticed something else was wrong with Phillips! “It was clear there was something very wrong. Her words were so jumbled, and I couldn’t understand what she was trying to say,” Koch said. “She didn’t sound like herself.” So, Koch decided to bring the principal of the school Charlie Lovelady, in on the Zoom call.
“I noticed her speech was impaired, and I asked her if she was alright, and she was stumbling over her words and it was getting worse by the minute,” Lovelady said. “I knew the symptoms of a stroke because I lost my father from a stroke so I told her hold on and immediately got her help.” Once he realized what was happening, Lovelady called 911. Thankfully it took less than five minutes for the paramedics to arrive. Now, Phillips is recovering nicely!
“I would have died if it weren’t for the teacher being so quick and fast about getting me help,” Phillips said, still in the hospital. “It made me so close to the staff and the principal, even the secretary who hurried to get me on the phone with the principal. They showed up at my house to make sure I’m okay.”
Since the incident, the principal and teacher have become much more than simple local heroes…
Proud Principal and Teacher Team
After the teacher and principal save Phillips life, they became the attention of media outlets all over the world. Meanwhile, Rané Garcia, Muskegon Heights Public School Academy System Superintendent and both educators’ boss, express her gratitude at their actions. “I am immensely proud of both Ms. Koch and Mr. Lovelady, their quick actions and the energy they have poured into relationships with students and families during this new way of education are making a significant positive difference in the lives of our students and their families,” Garcia said.
However, Koch does not view herself as a hero. She says she’s just a teacher doing her best during these challenging times. “I don’t think one can truly be a good teacher and not care about the students and their families. In the environment we’re in especially, it’s too hard to do this without actually truly caring,” Koch said. “Out of all this, what I’ve learned being part of a community that cares is so important. Paying attention to people and listening to them, always thinking of how to help. It’s great to know I’m part of a team like that.” Meanwhile, Lovelady cannot feel more blessed. “I’m a very, very proud principal,” he stated.