This school year has been hard on both teachers and students with the many disruptions and changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Teaching classes virtually over Zoom or other video conferencing software can pose a challenge for teachers and can also be less rewarding. Students may be less responsive or turn off their video cameras, leaving teachers feeling as though they are talking to a wall, not to mention the technical difficulties that come with online learning. 

As 2020 comes to a close and classes wind down for winter break, some students are going the extra mile to virtually thank their teachers for all their hard work this school year. Here are five examples of students who found creative ways to show their appreciation over Zoom. 

  1. Secret signs. A group of students from the College of New Jersey went viral after surprising their professor on the last day of class before their final exam. The students started the virtual class with their cameras turned off, then turned them on in unison to reveal handmade signs thanking their teacher for his dedication. 
  2. Emotional reaction. A teacher at Chapman University had an emotional reaction and needed to leave the room for a tissue when a group of freshman students surprised him with notes of gratitude during his Zoom lecture.  
  3. Celebrity sighting. One thoughtful choir student petitioned singer Kelly Clarkson to drop in on her Zoom class as a gesture of appreciation for her choir teacher. Following Kelly’s surprise appearance, the choir students all held up handmade signs of appreciation for their teacher. 
  4. The show must go on. After their school musical was canceled because of COVID-19, middle school students in Florida surprised their drama teacher by assembling videos of the students singing their parts in the play’s finale. 

Bear-ly there. After their professor admitted his fear of bears, a group of students decided to play an affectionate prank on the last day of school by changing their Zoom backgrounds to bears. The professor’s response? “I love you guys. You’re some of the most troubling human beings in the world.”