A Winnipeg teacher is going the extra mile to care for her students.

Jackie Ross, an early-years educator, wants her students to know that she is there for them, even if they cannot connect virtually.

"Making those connections with my students has been my goal," Ross says.

Before schools in Manitoba closed, Ross asked one of her students in her grades one and two classroom to pick out a large selection of books for her to read to students over Instagram.

"My job is to have my students feel at home in my classroom."

Since the closure of schools, Ross has been faithfully reading those books every day to her young students.

"I thought, if I can get out there and connect with my families I am going to try," Ross says.

Ross has been reading from home through social media. Many parents were messaging Ross over Instagram to share how their children were doing and that they missed their teacher. 

Ross noticed that not all of her students were able to join in virtually due to technical limitations and decided to bring the stories to them.

"A lot of teachers probably across the country, definitely the division... are also reading online," she says. "I started thinking about it and realizing not every child has access to the internet or technology."

The teacher has been reading to her students from the sidewalk as students sit on their front porches.

"Comunity is so important to me. It is not something you just say, you have to live it."

Ross says she makes sure to keep a far distance, putting her teacher's voice into good use.

"Honestly, it has given me purpose again to get up every day and go out there and see people and connect is huge. That is why I became a teacher in the first place."

Students are excited to see their teacher in person, even if it is from afar. Ross says that many of the students have siblings who join in, including former students, who are enjoying listening to the stories.

"I try to pick something fun (to read) that I think that particular student would like."

As the pandemic continues Ross says she may have to start gathering more books to read. Ross plans to continue this practice until her class is back in session.

"My job is to have my students feel at home in my classroom," Ross adds. "Comunity is so important to me. It is not something you just say, you have to live it." 

Ross has been encouraging the parents of her students to sign up for a time so Ross can read to each of her students in person.

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Not my typical type of post, but I wanted to take this opportunity to thank all the amazing teachers out there going above and beyond to keep their students engaged, educated and grounded throughout this trying time. Today my kids’ teacher @jackierossblondeau came by and read them a story from a safe distance across the fence. The kids were THRILLED!!!. (A few minutes later another teacher passed by and dropped off a workbook and some shoes of Archie’s we hadn’t had a chance to grab when school abruptly ended in March). Your efforts to put together online education plans, physical workbooks, timely personal visits —all the while dealing with the craziness and uncertainties also in your own lives is amazing. Your dedication to and love for our kids is duly noted and we are so grateful to you and all you do! Thank you to teachers everywhere for everything you’ve been doing to get our kids through this crisis. We love you ❤️ #teacher #teachersofinstagram #goodnews

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