LANCASTER (CBSLA) — A welcome sign, a calendar, and a white board greet Mrs. O’s students when they join class everyday through Zoom.
But, what they don’t see just steps away is a hospital bed.
“This setting feels no different than if I were at home,” said Janet Udomratsak. “The only difference is that yes, I am in the hospital.”
“In the beginning of the school year, that is when you build your relationship with your students, and I didn’t want to miss that opportunity,” she said.
She was hospitalized seven weeks ago due to pregnancy complications at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills. With months to go on bedrest until her second child is due, Udomratsak decided to take on the challenge of remote teaching.
“My love of teaching and building that relationship is so much stronger than me just wanting to sit and do nothing,” she said. “And honestly, that would be the life to take it all in and relax, but my desire is to be with the students.”
With support from her family, doctors, and the Eastside Union School District, she was given the green light to open up her hospital room and make it a classroom.
“I just review all of her monitoring, and then i come in and talk to her once a day,” said Udomratsak’s doctor, Kathryn Wright. “We all kind of know she is teaching and she is doing her thing and we try to stay out of her way except for when we do the monitoring we need to do.”
Udomratsak said that, especially during these unprecedented times, she feels it’s her job to make sure her students know they are not alone.
“It’s something that is new for all of us and I want to show them that I am there with them and the struggle is real for me as a teacher, it’s real them as the students and we are all in this together,” she said.