For teachers the coronavirus crisis has come with many challenges, suddenly everything they knew about teaching in a classroom and interacting with students has been turned on its head.
One teacher in North Carolina knows all about challenges, not only is he teaching his classes online but doing it from his hospital bed – while battling stage 4 cancer.
Wil Loesel is an 8th grade math teacher who was diagnosed with stage four non-Hodgkins Lymphoma just as schools shut down due to the pandemic.
His chemo treatment means he has to stay in hospital for five days, which he spends alone due to virus visitor restrictions.
We’ve all heard how grueling chemotherapy can be and how important it is to rest while receiving the treatment. But Wil chooses to spend his time connecting with his 117 students over Zoom.
“There are only so many times you can walk around a nurses’ station without feeling weird,” he says. “There’s only so much Netflix you can watch.”
He chats with his students over Zoom and they help take his mind off his situation.
“I get to talk to them and hear their jokes and calm down. One student will say, ‘I love you, Mr. L!’ and another will say, ‘Does it hurt?’ when they see the machines in back of me. Another will joke, ‘You’ll do anything to get out of grading papers!’ It’s great.”
Will had only just started teaching after switching careers but despite the pandemic and his diagnosis he still manages to keep his sense of humor.
“I said to my principal the other day, ‘Is every first year of teaching like this?’” he says.
His story even gained the attention of Ellen DeGeneres who invited him on her show and awarded him $25,000.
Every day he records a video for his two sons aged 10 and 7 in case he loses his battle to this rare form of cancer.
“They’re barely going to remember me as time goes on. The only time I really get sad or scared is when I ponder what would happen if I pass, and how it’s going to impact my sons.”
But this remarkable dad and teacher never loses hope.
“I trust the doctors, and I think we have a really, really good shot.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help pay for Wil’s medical costs.
Please share so more people can support this remarkable man.