Schools may be out and parts of the world may be under lockdown, but a kindergarten teacher from western Izmir province in Turkey is still going to work every day but not for the reason you may think. She is on chicken duty.
Özlem Barış Güney has been taking care of the chickens and the newly born chicks in the school's garden in Izmir's Bornova district.
Güney built the makeshift coop and farming area in the garden to give her young students the chance to learn firsthand about animals and nature. A project she started during the school year, she continues her efforts even during the summer break.
With support from school principal Özcan İkbal, Güney bought several chickens and soon had her students playing with and taking care of the animals, in efforts to illustrate that sometimes to learn you need to get your hands dirty and education does not just happen within four walls.
During countrywide lockdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic, Güney not only taught her students online but also put in extra shifts to make sure that the chickens were not left all alone.
During this period, she even obtained a "special permit" so that she wouldn't get into legal trouble because of curfews and lockdown restrictions, and now, while other teachers enjoy their summer break, she is attending to the newborn chicks.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA), Güney said she was affected by the pandemic and the suspension of education as much as everyone else. She said she tried to communicate with her students and their parents as often as she could, and continued to give them homework on a daily basis.
"After the schools closed, I went to the chicken coop every day and night. During the day I cleaned the coop, checked on their food and water and allowed the chickens to wander in the garden. In the evening, I went back to the school to put them back in the coop. When weekend curfews were put in place, I wondered how I could go to school. I talked with our school principal and we got the required permits. Thanks to that I was able to continue my work on lockdown days as well," she said.
Güney said she was soon surprised by new additions to the family of chickens.
"With the weather getting warmer one of our chickens started brooding. I was really excited. I watched various videos on the subject and educated myself. I cleaned, disinfected and distempered the coop. Then another chicken started brooding, and I shared the lovely news with my students," she said.
"The happiness of seeing the first chick (hatch) was indescribable," she added.
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