(The Conversation) Svitlana Popova’s students didn’t realize she was leading their online math class while outside the charred remains of her home in Ukraine until they saw a news video about it on social media.
Her students were in their own difficult circumstances, too – seeking refuge away from their homes, some in other countries.
Popova is a mathematics teacher in the town of Borodyanka, in the Kyiv region of Ukraine. Her school was seized as a headquarters by Russian military forces and heavily damaged before their retreat. After her classroom transitioned to online instruction, Russian tanks fired on her house and burned it down. Yet this dedicated teacher continued to lead virtual lessons from a small umbrella-covered table in the yard.
Ordinary Ukrainians have been hailed for their heroism since Russia’s full-scale invasion. “There are no small matters in a great war,” Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy affirmed in an emotional New Year’s address. “Each of us is a fighter,” Zelenskyy stated. “Each of us is the basis of defense.”
Listing the tools of war – ship’s helms, steering wheels, weapons, scalpels – Zelenskyy ended with an unexpected inclusion: the teacher’s pointer. This passing remark highlights an often hidden front in Ukraine’s defensive struggle – the fight by countless teachers and parents to keep more than 8 million children educated, even as their worlds have been thrown into upheaval. […]
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