“Rachel teaches A.L.L at Lindon Elementary. My youngest son was SO EXCITED to have her for his teacher. She is imaginative, kind, challenging, caring, fun, and very intuitive when it comes to her students. She, like so many other amazing Utah teachers, was tasked with pivoting HARD when it came to Covid. She did an amazing job, and she was concerned about every student’s ability to pivot with the rest of the class. A.L.L is a learning track. Kids jump on in 3-4th grade, and usually stay together through the rest of elementary, and many continue on together through secondary school in many of their classes. Rachel knew the cost to the individual student if any of these kids fell behind. In spite of the myriad challenges facing her and every family individually, she never gave up on a single child.
One difficult part for her and her students, was knowing that an entire year of experiencing ‘Team Bagley’s” Class was chopped almost in half. These kids had so much to look forward to the last part of the year and they were all so sad when it was irrevocably altered.
Students struggled in multiple ways. Some, like my son, struggled differently than others. He held on academically, but I watched him droop and fade into a little shadow of who he had been personality-wise. Covid was very hard on the extroverts, and it was hard for me to watch him fold in on himself with his moods and emotional side. And my son wasn’t the only one. Kids in A.L.L. classes bond with each other differently than typical classes. They move together more as a whole because of the way their class operates. It was very hard for them not to be together. These kids missed each other and their teacher. She really is like their coach!
It was as difficult for Rachel in many ways as it was for the children. Having to successfully dovetail emotional pivoting with academic/practical pivoting while not going personally crazy would take a miracle!!
I shouldn’t have ever doubted Miss Bagley though. (I often describe her as ‘A Magical Miracle’ to people who don’t know her.) It should surprise no one, that when the tiny sliver of a unique opportunity glimmered in the distance, she somehow managed to integrate that into her list of things to do as well.
While pandemic teaching her class of 4th graders, she was able to negotiate some future magic with our principle that was going to go a VERY LONG WAY towards helping her class heal from a VERY WEIRD YEAR.
When the 5th grade A.L.L teacher had to re-assess her teaching situation after the birth of her first baby, Rachel Bagley offered to MOVE TO 5TH GRADE in order to hopefully have the chance to ‘in person’ teach her previous class of 4th graders for a complete year. She knew it would take time, and consistency for these kids to be able to optimally move forward.
The parents watching from the sidelines could hardly believe it could be possible, but had to keep it quiet until things were official, lest we needlessly got the kids’ hopes up. And when it actually was official, and Rachel was (over zoom) able to surprise the kids, WHAT A HAPPY DAY!!!!
So it’s been a Magical Miracle of a year so far. There are still challenges, like masks, and family illnesses, and students having to quarantine, and a Covid scare for Miss Bagley herself, (negative, WHEW!!) but she has worked SO HARD to keep things as NORMAL as possible for these kids. I have seen my son return mostly back to his usual self, in huge part thanks to the consistency Miss Bagley has helped to provide in a year+ of unique challenges.
These kids, in fact, ALL OUR KIDS experienced various levels of emotional trauma with Covid. It wasn’t apparent to me at the beginning. I was kind of happy for the opportunity to slow life down. But over time, I saw how it affected each of my children, and several children around me. My second to last boy was, in the past, also a student of Miss Bagley’s 4th grade, and knowing his personality, and knowing he was headed for 7th grade this year, she kept tabs on him during Covid too!! In fact, she was watching over all our families in tandem with teaching our kids. She KNOWS these kids. She feels RESPONSIBLE in helping guide their academic and emotional well being. She actually is a Magical Miracle to us and we love and appreciate her 3000.”
Submitted by: Tammy Merryweather
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