Elyse Buckley is a teacher at Independence Academy in Dover.

Elyse Buckley is a teacher at Independence Academy in Dover. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and her students had to move to virtual learning, she had to get creative to keep them motivated.

“My school went virtual in early March, which was great preparation for my situation this school year,” Buckley said. “As of right now, my class is all-virtual and I teach from my classroom in the school building. Some challenges include managing students’ login information for different websites, providing social time for my students and managing instructional time. I’ve found that patience and empathy are essential for teaching online.”

Buckley started taking guitar lessons 20 years ago when she was in high school, and she’s been writing and performing her songs on guitar and ukulele since graduating from college in 2006.

“I worked at Barnes & Noble after graduating. Working in the children’s department helped me realize I’d like to work in education,” Buckley said. “It’s also where I performed my first original children’s song called ‘Betty the Yeti’ about global warming for an Earth Day event. My coworkers and management were encouraging of my music and requested that I write a song for the event.”

Her musical background is her inspiration to play a morning song video to her students.

“I like to incorporate my passion for music into the classroom, “ Buckley said. “Every morning, I play a good morning song on ukulele and on Fridays I bring my guitar to play some songs at the end of the day. My second grade class was doing a unit on rocks in science and I wanted to make it more exciting for my students. I remember things better if they’re in song, and thought it might help my class in the same way. It was my way of supplementing the curriculum.”

Buckley’s coworkers love what she is doing for her students.

“Elyse has been a valuable part of our family since she joined us last year,” said Principal of Independence Academy Jack Burkett. “She always has a smile and kind word for everyone. Her students and their parents absolutely love her. We knew she was something special even before we started dealing with COVID, but it became even more prevalent as we started receiving feedback from her students’ parents about how excited their children were to get online with her every day. Even through the distance-learning platform, she was making it an exciting and rigorous learning journey for her students.”

Buckley also has an album called Stories available on streaming services and on Amazon.