It is Teacher Appreciation Week. Now more than ever, it’s important to recognize hard-working teachers as they adjust to distance learning.

KHON2 wants to honor two Hawaii teachers that go above and beyond: Ashley Mika Ho and Derek Govin.

Ashley Mika Ho teaches 2nd grade at Kanoelani Elementary.

“It’s almost like you’re an actor in a TV show or like a children’s show and you’re talking to yourself and you’re waiting for a response that’s not coming,” Ho said about what it’s like filming videos for her students.

In addition to making learning fun, she’s also helping other teachers in her free time.

Ho created the Hawaii Distance Learning Forum, a space for other teachers to share struggles and ideas.

“I didn’t know how to conduct distance learning, and I was frustrated. I didn’t know if I was alone in that feeling as a teacher,” she said about why she created the website.

Derek Govin teaches special education at Roosevelt High School.

Govin’s job is already challenging, but doing it online makes it even harder.

“I, like many other special education teachers, found myself getting in a really dark place,” Govin said about the adjustment. “‘How are my students going to be able to do this? and ‘I can’t do this. There’s no way that I can do this,’ so it’s been challenging to think outside the box and be solutions oriented,” Govin said.

Govin manages to find creative ways to make distance learning fun.

“We do a group cooking lesson on Monday’s and we do it as the two classes together,” Govin explained. “The students will bring their own supplies. The teachers already planned out what they’re cooking for the day. This past week we completed nachos,” Govin said about the activity for his students.

What makes Govin a standout teacher is his kindness. He makes sure to check in with parents to see how they’re doing emotionally during these tough times.

“I stress with my parents, I value culture and a positive classroom culture,” Govin said. “It’s personal because we become so tight knit within this class that we’re like a family.”

It’s teachers like Govin and Ho who are shaping Hawaii’s future.

“At the end of the day just knowing that I tried my very best to reach every child, and I hope that it’s reciprocated cause they’ve touched me,” Ho said.

The Hawaii State Department of Education released the following statement about Ho and Govin.

Ashley and Derek are passionate about helping students thrive and supporting fellow teachers. From finding creative solutions to engage students to establishing networks to collaborate and share ideas and resources, we are happy to highlight two teacher leaders and their efforts to strengthen public education in Hawaii.

We want to thank all of our educators who have been innovative and progressive despite these trying times. We appreciate their resiliency and hard work serving our haumana.