DELAND, Fla. — Julie Kaidor, who teaches at St. Barnabas Episcopal School in DeLand, is determined to help her students alleviate their anxieties as they navigate the uncertain times of the coronavirus pandemic so they can learn.

What You Need To Know

  • Julie Kaidor is a cross trainer in her off-hours

  • The 4th-grade teacher wrote a book to try to ease children's COVID-19 fears

  • Check out more A+ Teachers

"They won't be in the seats more than 15 minutes at a time ever,” Kaidor said. “I'll have them up doing burpees and air squats. I'll have them doing pushups and sit ups, and it's not torture. They love it."

Kaidor isn't a physical education teacher. She teaches fourth-graders all subjects. It's a career she loves, but when she's not teaching, she's working out and pumping iron as a cross trainer in DeLand. 

Back in her classroom, she motivates her students to stay active, too. 

"I get them up and moving because the research I've been presented is that movement actually helps the brain solidify the facts and the information into memory," Kaidor said.

In response to the pandemic, Kaidor wrote a children's book titled, Good-Will: Life in COVID-19 Times. It's a book that's meant to calm their fears about the highly contagious virus. The characters in the book are mask-wearing animals that social distance, and their teacher is a super hero with a message. ​

"Even though their lives look different, they still have the same hearts, and everybody is doing their best in this book," Kaidor said

Teaching, she said, is her calling. It's her passion.

"Being in a classroom full of students  —  young minds, growing them, exploring with them  —  that is where my joy lies."