After a year of remote classes, teachers are meeting students for the first time

Leslie was eager to get back to the familiar routines of school life. It was tough to stay motivated, she says, while learning virtually.

“I’m a really social person,” she explains. “Once you get used to waking up and then logging into class, it gets really tiring just sitting all day in your pajamas not doing anything. But waking up, having something to get ready for, seeing old friends – oh my gosh!’ ”

Amy Barksdale, who teaches first grade in Silver Spring, Md., knew what her students looked like, since most of them kept their cameras on. But there was one surprising difference when she actually met them in person.

“When I saw the first kid walk in, I really forgot how small they were,” she says, laughing. Video classes, she learned, don’t convey height very well. “They were just so little. And they even looked at me and they were like, ‘Wow! you’re taller than I thought.’ “