Mrs. McClure is a kindergarten/first grade teacher at Capt. Albert Stevens School who has been teaching for 32 years. She reached out to Mrs. Nickerson earlier this year to let her know that she had triplets in her classroom. We thought it would be fun to do an interview about what it is like teaching triplets during the COVID pandemic when it is already hard enough keeping track of everyone because you can’t see faces.

We started our interview with some basic questions about teaching such young kids in different grades during the pandemic and how that is going.

Avery: What is it like teaching kids during this pandemic?

Mrs. McClure: It has been challenging, but rewarding, because they can still go to school. The students want to be at school.

Payton: How do you get lessons planned for your kids with two different grades?

Mrs. M.: So there is something called curriculum and grade level programs. And themes and student interest also play a big role in planning lessons.

Kamynn: Do you ever have multiple kids come up to you and ask questions from different grades?

Mrs. M.: That happens a lot and I say go sit down and take a look at your paper or look over your work to see what you can add, until I can call you up.

Avery: Did you find it easier when it was hybrid since you only had half of your kids?

Mrs. M.: Having a smaller class was helpful to follow the COVID guidelines, but it was challenging not having the whole class, who have so much to contribute to our learning community.

Payton: Is it hard to keep your students socially distant?

Mrs. M.: Yes, that is the hardest part because they want to play together and they want to share things. They each have a busy box, so when it is free choice they get that out and play, and stay at their seats.

Kamynn: Do any of your kids slip down their masks when they are not allowed to?

Mrs. M.: Yes, but they're really good at keeping their masks on. Sometimes they have it under their nose or forget to put it on after eating.

Avery: Have any kids ever asked when COVID will end?

Mrs. M.: Well they haven't asked when it will end, but they know that there is a dangerous virus going around.

Payton: Have your students improved more in the COVID pandemic? Or less?

Mrs. M.: I think going out last spring has impacted their incoming skills, but we are working hard and making good progress every day.

Avery: We know you teach two grades, so what grade are the triplets in?

Mrs. M.: They are in the first grade.

Kamynn: Is this the first pair of triplets in your classroom?

Mrs. M.: Yes! I have had a pair of twins in my class before, but never triplets.

Payton: How do you tell them apart with their masks on?

Mrs. M.: Aldric has longer hair than Alec and Lucian. Alec is a bit taller than Lucian. Those are the differences I notice even when they have their masks on.

Avery: Do you sometimes call the triplets the wrong names because they look so much alike?

Mrs. M.: I do. One is easy because one has longer hair and the other two are kinda hard to keep straight.

Kamynn: Have you ever gotten them mixed up?

Mrs. M.: Yes, a few times, especially when they are sitting down, because then I can’t see their height.

Avery: I’ve heard that some twins and triplets try to trick their teacher. Have they ever tried to trick you?

Mrs. M.: Not so far.

Payton: Do they have friends, or do they play with each other all the time?

Mrs. M.: The triplets hang together even when they are playing with other kids in the class.

Kamynn: Isn’t it true that because the triplets are brothers they don’t have to stay 3 feet apart, like the other students in your class do?

Mrs. M.: Yes, that is true. Which can be difficult for the other students to understand why they can’t be closer to each other.

Kamynn: And finally, what has been the most stressful part of teaching this year?

Mrs. M.: Keeping the students socially distanced and hoping that our classroom is germ- free so that we all stay healthy and in school.

Reprinted from The COVID Chronicle, a newspaper started by students in Nancy Nickerson's fourth grade class at Capt. Albert W. Stevens School about what it is like to attend school during the pandemic.