As she prepared herself and her classroom for the school year, Leslie Bailey made all the necessary adjustments to ensure a safe environment during COVID-19.
But she didn’t stop with the physical space. Instead, she spent seven hours sewing special masks for her kids and colleagues for the sweetest reason!
Leslie teaches at Legacy Elementary School in Bossier City, Louisiana. This year, one student in her class, a girl named Baleigh, is hearing impaired. Since Baleigh relies on reading lips to communicate, Leslie knew the mask mandate would make her learning process especially stressful. That’s when the awesome educator came up with an idea for a see-through face covering!
Before the first day of school was over, she had sewn more than 50 masks with vinyl coverings over the mouth. Not only did she have enough for herself and every child in her class, but she also shared them with a second classroom that has a student with a hearing impairment. Plus, she gave one to their speech therapy teacher!
Spending so much time on this project was a no-brainer for Leslie. “It’s important that all students are placed in the least restrictive environment,” she explained. “A student who is hearing impaired shouldn’t have to have another hurdle to jump due to the safety precautions set in place.”
Her efforts meant the world to Baleigh! When the little girl went home that first day, her mom, Shena Berry, said, “She had the biggest smile on her face.”
Shena went to thank Leslie in person, but Leslie didn’t do it for praise. In fact, the teacher added, “Getting to see the students smile is a breath of fresh air, just a little glimpse of some normalcy, and being able to connect a face to a name.”
Prior to this project, Leslie already had an Etsy shop where she was selling some adorable face masks. So she figured she might as well add the see-through version to make them accessible to more people!
“I don’t think anything I did was above and beyond what any educator wouldn’t do when faced with a problem,” Leslie said later. “I have watched, over the last few weeks, educators rethink, revise, and create all new ways of learning, so students that are on-site and virtual can experience the classroom to its fullest potential.”
What a powerful reminder that teachers around the world are going above and beyond for their students! Thank you, Leslie and every other educator out there, for taking care of others during this difficult time!
If you know someone who could use a see-through face mask, you can purchase some on Leslie’s Etsy. Don’t forget to share this story so more people can benefit from her amazing design.
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