LAKE MARY, Fla. - Sunshine LaLonde started 2020 off with fun new side gig, teaching English to children in China on line via VIPKid.
“It was right as everything was starting to shut down in Wuhan, Beijing and many other of the large regions in China began quarantine. From her computer screen in Satellite Beach,“ says LaLonde.
She says she was getting an inside glimpse of how the spread of the coronavirus i China was changing the lives of her students.
“It took probably a good month or so for it all to set in to where I did notice a shift in some students. They were, ‘Oh teacher, I’m so bored. I wish I could go outside. I miss seeing my friends I want to go to school.’”
LaLonde posted a special sign for her students written next to her where her students could see it. Written in Chinese it says “Stay Strong China.”
“A lot of my older students would see and point out. 'Oh teacher, teacher thank you,'” LaLonde explains.
She would talk to her younger students about washing their hands and wearing their masks if they went outside.
Fast forward two-and-a-half months, the tables are turning. Her students are sharing good news.
“I’m great. I got to go outside,” one young student told her.
That student went on to tell LaLonde how she went to a park, had a picnic, played tag with friends, all without having to wear her mask. As life is getting back to normal in China, things are getting bad here in the U.S. LaLonde’s students are now checking in on her.
“’Oh teacher, I hear the virus is in the USA. Is it near you?’” she says one of her older students asked today.
One little VIPKid student in Wuhan is showing off all the English she’s been learning. She shot a sweet video, “remember to wash your hands and try to stay at home,” the little girl says in perfect English. The child even showed her doll wearing a mask, explains how all her teachers should now wear masks outside. The little girl also gave some words of encouragement telling her teachers that they will get through this too.
“Stay strong together,” the child, ending her minute long video. LaLonde says it’s heartwarming how caring her students are.
“They want to see a smiling face on the other side, that’s what we give them. Now they’re giving that back to me. They’re the ones encouraging me and lifting me up and excited to see me. I didn’t expect that. That’s been amazing,” she says.