SARASOTA, Fla (WFLA) – Ida Shuler has been an elementary school teacher for the last eight years. She’s taking her talents to the road with a new teaching venture.
Shuler used her personal savings to purchase a bus and transform it into a classroom on wheels. Her hope is to serve families who need a little extra support with remote learning during the pandemic and close any learning or connectivity gaps family might be dealing with.
The Tampa Bay area elementary school teacher saw firsthand how tough e-learning was for both students and parents this spring, so she decided to take a leap of faith, leave her day job as a teacher, and hit the road as a personal tutor in her newly transformed mobile classroom.
She is looking to help local families however she can. Right now, she is focusing on the Riverview area in Hillsborough County and the Newtown community in Sarasota where she was born and raised.
“It is 100% free for all families,” said Shuler. “I don’t want this to be another burden. We have a lot going on, pockets are getting a little tighter, so I just don’t want parents to have to think about ‘hey, my child really needs this’ or feel forced to send their child back to school because there was no other means,” she continued.
So far, Shuler has helped ten families across the Tampa Bay area, lifting a weight on working parents’ shoulders. Jordan C. has a six-year-old son who is doing e-learning this school year. As a working mom, she explains it was tough being two places at once.
“I am constantly talking on the phone or having to do emails and then having to run back and check on him to make sure he is doing everything and making sure he is turning in assignments. I just feel comfortable letting my kids go on the bus, learn, while I am inside working, but I feel secure and safe that my kid is still learning and getting their education. Education is key. I am so happy that I am able to get both done all at once,” said the mother.
Shuler says she’s willing to bring her mobile classroom directly to students’ doorsteps.
“I am in a better position to help support others. I have a gift that I want to spread. I know there are children like me when I was a kid. It was just me and my dad and he didn’t have the means to provide me with a private tutor, so here I am, I have the means to do so and so now, I am just bringing something here to this community that I am pretty sure everyone will be able to use,” said Shuler.
Her hope is to expand her services across the Tampa Bay area. She has interest in buying a second bus so she can help more students.
“I didn’t think somebody like me could have an impact like this. I didn’t think at eight years old that I would be growing up and perhaps changing the way people are learning. It is just a very overwhelming and heart wrenching feeling to be able to help those around you that know they need the support,” said the elementary school teacher.
Families who have used Shuler’s service are thankful.
“From going to something that was a for sure paycheck to this.. I felt it was very admirable of her and I was very proud to hear that she was doing some thing to give back to the community,” said a parent in Hillsborough County.
Shuler’s efforts are made possible by help from the community. For those interested in helping, you can access her GoFundMe page here.
“I am totally relying on community members to keep this project going. At the end of the day, I don’t know if that will happen, but I have faith that it will,” said Shuler. She says the community support so far has been unbelievable.
Families interested in registering for Shuler’s services can click here.