The debate on whether schools should reopen in the U.S. has been going on at full throttle for quite some time. Arguments for both sides are bouncing around the media and online while the president somehow managed to make the contradictory arguments that “Everything is fine, schools should reopen” and “The situation is very bad, we should postpone the election”.
Still, with the Covid-19 pandemic still tearing the country apart most teachers express fear and concerns about the potential reopening. After all – their lives will be on the line. And all that is going on across the world too, not just in the U.S.
But the continuing debate doesn’t mean that teachers don’t miss their students, however. On the contrary, Miss Ingeborg Meinster-Van der Duin, a Dutch primary school teacher misses her 23 students so much that she used her free time to knit 23 tiny dolls, one for each of her students.
Miss Ingeborg teaches at Dr. H.Bavinck school in Haarlem, Netherlands, and shared that all her colleagues and students miss going to school as well. Sure, having some time off school may have felt great at first, especially for the students, but pretty soon everyone started missing the face-to-face contact.
“It was all up and running that the school closed. It all hit me like this. The children were no longer in school. And I miss them so much,” she said.
That’s when she had the adorable idea to do some knitting. She said that she had just seen similar dolls posted on Pinterest so she thought “Why not?” and grabbed the needles.
And while matching the facial features of each student on a simple doll wasn’t really feasible, Miss Ingeborg did her best to knit their exact hairstyles as well as their clothes.
Some kids preferred darker sweaters, others – bright cardigans, and Miss Ingeborg gave each doll the preferred clothing of the child it represented. Each doll was approximately 10 cm (4 inches) tall and she even gave glasses and freckles to some of them!
All in all, each doll took her between 3 and 4 hours of work but the end result was definitely worth it. And when the kids noted that there’s no doll for the teacher herself, she spent the extra couple of hours to make a doll for herself as well.
“I keep this in. Next year I will also make dolls of the next class. Colleagues have also already asked if I want to knit their classes. But there really is no time for that,” she said.
Miss Ingeborg had the chance to meet her students again when they came one by one to take their belongings from school. She used the opportunity to give each child their doll. Needless to say, the children were able to easily guess their own dolls and were really happy with the end result.
And while such stories are definitely heartwarming, they are also quite bitter-sweet. Hopefully, students and teachers won’t have to miss out on too many in-person classes during the next school year but that’s largely dependant on how quickly we manage to get the Covid-19 pandemic under control.
The more diligent we are with the preventive measures such as testing, masks, and social distancing in the next couple of months, the sooner we’ll be able to put this whole crisis behind us.