Teacher shares inspiration behind viral quarantine TikTok

An Illinois Spanish teacher who became a TikTok sensation on Friday with her tongue-in-cheek quarantine video says she hopes she is able to provide some much needed comedic relief during these uncertain times.

Kathleen McColaugh, a Spanish teacher at Addison Trail High School in Addison, Ill., sent her now-viral video update to students after she was asked to do so by the school district, which canceled classes about a month ago due to coronavirus fears.

“On Monday, my school district asked us to reach out to our students to touch base with them after spring break,” McColaugh told In The Know. “Many of them are having a difficult time and are anxious about the unknown, so I decided to video that message hoping to make them smile and feel more at ease.” 

“I pride myself on the personal connections and feeling of community in my classroom, so they hear all about my family and know I like to joke,” the teacher added.

Using an educational app called FlipGrid, McColaugh recorded a comical video message in which she claims everything is going well in quarantine.

However, she utilizes a series of printed signs in order to not-so-gently (and very relatably) suggest that things could be better.

“Just to let you know, the McColaugh family, we’re all here together in the house, and we are having a great time!” she claims, as she reveals a sign reading, “Help!”

“Everyone here is just wonderful. We’re getting up every morning and we’re just so fortunate with how well we all get along, and we’re just spending so much time together, it’s just been really great” McColaugh lies, while holding up a sign that reads, “They are here, they can hear me.”

@eli.aquino

make sure to wait to see it and also like to save my spanish teacher 🤣🤣 ##fyp ##waitforit ##healthheroes ##spanish ##levelup ##foryoupage ##quarantine

♬ original sound – eli.aquino

The video went viral after one of her students, Eli Aquino, shared it on TikTok with his over 51,000 followers.

“Eli has been a student of mine for 2 years,” McColaugh told In The Know. “He is a great young man. He is a pretty ‘cool’ kid so for him to appreciate this video and repost … it meant a lot.”

But Aquino wasn’t the only one impressed by McColaugh’s antics — the clip has since racked up over 580,000 views on the video-sharing platform and has even been covered by local news station WGN-TV.

But the best part, according to McColaugh, was all the positive responses she received from her own students.

“I think because my video had some truthful humor blended in, it allowed them to be more honest with their feelings,” she said. “Most students said they were bored (in quarantine), many talked about the desire to go back to school … and joked that they never thought they would say that.  A few laughed and admitted that after watching the video they need to help their parents more.”

McCoulaugh also revealed that she and her family have gotten a kick out of her new-found fame — particularly, her 92-year-old father.

“I was able to call him and walk him through how to see the post,” she said of In The Know’s original coverage. “He read every line to me as if I couldn’t see it on my end. Too cute!”

Celebrity status aside, McCoulaugh just hopes her humor can provide temporary relief to anyone who is currently living in fear or struggling to cope with the state of the world.

“I can’t believe how well received it has been,” she added. “I’m hoping it is bringing a smile to those that need it.”

If you enjoyed this story, check out this family’s chaotic moment in quarantine.

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