REDMOND, Wash. — While some students are excited to get back into classrooms, the decision is much harder for Garett Talcott's kindergarten class. Talcott's unique virtual lessons have made fans out of his students and their parents - and tens of thousands of people online.
Talcott is a teacher at Ella Baker Elementary in Redmond, but during class, he's much more than that. He's a tour guide, scientist, even sometimes a pilot or a rollercoaster operator. Talcott has worn many different hats to make sure his students stay engaged.
Known on social media as @vivid.michael, Mr. Talcott has quickly built over 27,000 followers on Instagram and over 77,000 followers on TikTok by posting videos of his unique lessons. Talcott recently posted a video of a surprise virtual field trip he took his students on to the Woodland Park Zoo. The video has been viewed more than 800 thousand times.
Mobile technology allowed him to take his laptop and walk around the zoo and engage his class with live habitat exploration.
Talcott told King 5's Chris Cashman it's his job is to make sure the students are engaged and excited to join him virtually every day.
“We’re all going through different feelings and emotions so when I get on there, whether I’ve had enough sleep or I’m ready or not ready, BOOM! The moment I hit that live button I have to be ready and there for those students and make sure it’s the best day of their life,” Talcott said.
It’s an ambitious mission for a teacher looking to captivate kindergartners online, but Talcott utilizes every square inch of his 500 square foot apartment on Capitol Hill.
Science experiments in the kitchen, costumed dance breaks, virtual rollercoaster rides, international flights, and online field trips help his students stay focused.
“Hearing the kids excited tells me it’s working!” Talcott said.
He also uses his platform to talk with kids about bullying he faced in his own life, and share messages of comfort and support amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Even though teaching alone in a one-bedroom apartment can be isolating Mr. Talcott is quick to thank his supporters and specifically his partner Michael who helps make the videos.
“I’m doing the job of teaching our amazing class and he’s the one capturing it,” Talcott said. After 8 years of teaching Garett Talcott has found a silver-lined groove during the pandemic and is excited to continue to engage his eager online students through June.