WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. (CBS4)– As students and teachers get used to remote learning, educators planning to retire at the end of the school year may have already had their last day in the classroom. For teachers like Stephanie Rossi, getting used to remote teaching is a challenge of its own.

Rossi teaches AP U.S. History and AP Psychology.

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“I’ve just had a couple of bumps like I’ve had meetings start that I can’t get into them,” Rossi said.

For this Wheat Ridge teacher, video chat was essential. Not just to make sure students are paying attention but rather for student interaction, as this is her final semester of teaching.

“There is a bit of mourning for me that I’m not ending it in my classroom,” Rossi said.

For 40 years, Rossi has taught young minds and been a teacher that students could rely on for just about anything.

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“I care more about if you’re doing OK,” she told her students through Zoom on Wednesday.

After four decades in the classroom, teaching from her kitchen counter is a big change. She said remote teaching is something she never expected would mark the end of her career.

“The hardest thing is that I can’t say goodbye to my kids,” she said, tearing up. “And I’m a hugger. And I can’t say goodbye.”

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Each day her virtual classroom is filled with important lessons, conversations and laughter. It’s an important time to be there for students as things are uncertain.

“I’m so proud of the profession of education that didn’t wilt and didn’t collapse from the pressure but instead said okay, this is what we’ve got to do,” she said.

Rossi said it’s going to be tough to pack up her classroom at the end of the year alone. She hopes one day, she’ll be able to have a retirement to say goodbye to her coworkers, support system and students.

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Makenzie O'Keefe