When a teacher in Metro Detroit learned the news -- that high schools across the state would be switching to virtual learning once again, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic -- she felt sad, despite knowing the move was “absolutely necessary.”
Still, she wanted to do something fun for her students, at Frankel Jewish Academy in West Bloomfield.
“I love dressing up in costumes,” said Margaret-Ann Wommer, 30, of Troy, Michigan.
And she had them around the house -- it’s not as if she had to order a bunch on Amazon or drop a bunch of money at a store. Wommer said she loves Halloween, and dressing up is just fun.
An idea was starting to form.
“It honestly just came to me,” Wommer said. “I was feeling like (the time doing virtual school) was going to be monotonous -- not leaving the house, like every day might seem the same, staring at everything on a computer screen. If I didn’t find it exciting, I didn’t think my students would, either. So I thought, let’s do something to change that.”
On her first day of the “project,” if you could call it that, Wommer showed up online dressed as Rosie the Riveter, complete with the “We Can Do It” mantra as her background.
As for her students’ reactions?
“I think they thought I was just trying to be inspiring,” Wommer said with a laugh.
It was hard to gauge exactly what the students made of the project, especially at first.
“High school is a tough crowd, so there’s that,” Wommer said. “They thought I was nuts, and not going to keep it going.”
But she did.
Wommer has dressed up as Mary Poppins, Belle from “Beauty and the Beast,” Katniss from “The Hunger Games” and Princess Leia of “Star Wars,” to name just a few.
She coordinates her virtual backgrounds, as well.
Check out some of these fun screenshots that she shared, below.
She’s moved the needle with her students a bit.
“Lately I’ve gotten more compliments (and) more laughter. Now they think I’m famous and ‘cool,’” Wommer said, referring to another online article that was written about her project.
When we spoke to Wommer -- who’s been in education for eight years, although this is her first at Frankel Jewish Academy -- she said that Tuesday marked her 12th day in costume.
It’s been fun for her, as well.
“My mom was a Girl Scout leader, and a district manager for a retail chain,” Wommer said. “She knew how to motivate people. I think I got that from her a little bit.”
When we asked how much longer she could keep up with the fresh costume ideas, she said, “For now, I just (have to) get through next Friday!”
We’ll leave you with a few final photos. Could all teachers be this fun?