Crystal Lake educator releases book about teaching during pandemic

Virtual learning during the past year was a challenge around the world for students, parents, grandparents and especially teachers. A newly released book by Melissa “Missy” Zilm, “See You on the Screen,’' captures the experience of a first-time kindergarten teacher as the Crystal Lake educator navigates through remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic with her kindergarten class of 18.

With one week to prepare, Zilm became a remote kindergarten teacher after 22 years of being a reading specialist. Throughout the year, there were tears, chocolate, frustration, joy and so many giggles, she said in a news release.

“Three weeks into the school year, our district changed all the reading teachers into classroom teachers, and I became a remote kindergarten teacher for the remainder of the year,” she said. “It was a very challenging yet rewarding opportunity, and I decided to write a book about it.”

In the book, which is available on Amazon.com, Zilm explores the reality that teachers and students faced during the unprecedented period.

She said she expects readers to laugh at the funny adventures she recounted and shed a few tears as they learn about the challenges she and her students faced while learning on the computer for an entire school year.

“The book is an epic tale of resiliency and triumph of the human spirit during a time of uncertainty, loss and darkness. … We became a family of learners brought together under unusual circumstances,” Zilm said, adding that she wrote the book as a “work of heart.”

She said she hopes the story will serve as a keepsake for families and educators who survived the journey, as well as anyone looking for an easy read filled with hope, promise and laughter.

It’s also meant to be a resource for future generations to learn about the trials and tribulations faced in education during a school year like no other.

Zilm, who has been teaching for 23 years, said she loves making heartfelt connections with her students. She is a reading specialist at Indian Prairie Elementary School in Crystal Lake.

The book’s illustrator is Laurie Parker of West Chicago, Zilm’s mother, who has been painting most of her life.

Connect with the author by email at mrszilmreads@gmail.com or on Facebook at Missy Zilm Books.

“See You on the Screen” can be bought on Amazon.com at tinyurl.com/kxcwye5y.