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Canton teacher builds desks for students without one to use during virtual learning

Canton teacher
Posted at 7:06 PM, Jan 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-14 23:23:42-05

CANTON, Ohio — For mom Brandy Goodwin, virtual learning comes with a learning curve all of its own. She is, not only, make sure her kids are keeping up with their work, but that she is, too.

"I’m going to school, too, so there’s three of us in the home, all at the same time," she said.

Goodwin, her daughter Bailey and her younger son all shared the kitchen table for their virtual schooling.

"There’s no room. We were all at the same table, setting up we’d have to like keep ourselves muted the whole time, and then if we wanted to say something we’d have to hurry up and try and say something before someone else started talking," said Goodwin.

John Huntsman is a title I reading teacher at Crenshaw Middle School and one of Bailey's teachers. Huntsman said he noticed her workspace was not unique.

"I could see that there were a lot of kids lying on the couch, lying on the floor, lying on beds and I thought 'Well that’s not really a place that’s conducive to learning,'" said Huntsman.

The thought of students not having a workplace to call their own bothered him.

"Sometimes I would ask kids 'Do you have a space you could work other than just lying on your bed or sitting on your bed?' and they’d say no," he said.

He took matters into his own hands, quite literally. With no prior knowledge, he began building desks.

"When John approached me about building these desks he said 'Would you mind?' I said 'Absolutely not'," said Crenshaw Middle School principal Bob Crone. "If it's for the kids or for the families, it’s always going to be if you can make it happen go do it."

So Huntsman did it.

"I started ripping the boards lengthwise to use 2 feet by 2 feet so it wouldn’t be so heavy, so the kids could move it," he said.

He made them on his own time, and at the beginning, with his own money. Eventually, other teachers and community members began to donate. He's made 16 desks and, with the help of Principal Crone, has delivered 11. Bailey received one of those desks and put it in her room.

"It’s not as loud," she said. "I have my space. There’s a lot more room."

And while virtual learning may mostly be about math, science, and English, it's clear there's a lot to learn from a simple act of kindness, too.

"These are crazy times These are unprecedented times. So, if I could do something as minute as building a desk help make it less crazy for my kids, our kids, Crenshaw kids, that’s what I wanted to do," said Huntsman.