In a TikTok clip, a Washington teacher shows just how much energy, positivity, and patience remote education requires.

By Maressa Brown
September 17, 2020
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Child Studying Online Lesson at Home
Credit: loops7/Getty Images

As the 2020-2021 school year kicks off, parents, teachers, and students are all doing their best to adapt to the new normal, which may very well include either part- or full-time distance learning. But ensuring that kids, especially younger ones, are engaged and actively participating in virtual lessons is no easy feat, as a kindergarten teacher from Washington named Mackenzie makes clear in a now viral TikTok. In the clip, the enthusiastic educator attempts to teach her class about the number 4.

"My facial expressions trying to keep kindergarteners engaged in online learning," the teacher captioned her post. But her facial expressions are just the tip of the iceberg. She's also supremely upbeat, energetic, and—above all else—patient while attempting to not only command 5-year-olds' attention but help them navigate tech issues like the mute button.

"Oh! I see Brin is holding up the number 2 and 2," says Mackenzie in the TikTok, holding up both her hands with two fingers out. "That will also make 4!" She then prompts kids to raise their hands, and when a child is called upon, she uses a graphic placard to cue them to turn on their microphone.

It's no wonder the TikTok has been received over 2 million likes and picked up steam on Twitter after being shared by a woman who noted, "This woman should literally be paid one million dollars a year."

Chrissy Teigen also chimed in, noting, "I hate that kids are losing so much valuable social time out in the world but man, love teachers so much. Making it work."

The teacher, who preferred to be identified by her first name only, told BuzzFeed News that she initially took the video to see if she was projecting the right energy to keep her kindergartners' attention. But it clearly struck a chord with viewers who found themselves mesmerized by the 24-year-old's skill.

"The response has been wonderful," she told the outlet. "I think the video has really given people insight into what early education looks like online. I feel like you really have to up the ante when it comes to facial expressions and arm movements. Online, you really have to amp it up."

She continued, "In order to keep 5- and 6-year-olds engaged, you really have to do a performance for them. I do think that teachers are actors and we have to put on a show for these kids to keep them engaged when they're in their homes."

In response to the positive feedback, Mackenzie posted a follow-up TikTok in which she shared another lesson and wrote, "Thanks for all the kind words about teachers."

Ultimately, the educator hopes that this viral moment translates to bolstered awareness around teachers' efforts during this challenging time, telling BuzzFeed, "Teachers definitely don't get enough credit for what we do, and [people] never get to see teachers in action." But they are now, thanks to Mackenzie's awe-inspiring TikTok.