"My students love it," Nellie Williams of Fairfax, Virginia, says of her unique remote learning setup

By Susan Keating and Kelli Bender
March 01, 2021 02:13 PM
nellie williams
Credit: Nellie Williams

Nellie Williams of Fairfax, Virginia, says she is "up a tree" at school — and she is loving every minute of it!

The Haycock Elementary School teacher, 48, like many educators, spent much of the 2019-2020 school year teaching remotely. Over the summer, Williams learned she would continue teaching out of a virtual classroom to start the 2020-2021 school year as part of her Falls Church school's COVID-19 precautions.

To keep remote learning engaging for her students, and fun for her as well, Williams spent several weeks in the "scorching heat" sprucing up her daughters' old treehouse into something special. With some help from her husband Geoff, Williams was able to transform the structure into a bright, inviting classroom complete with insulation, flooring, and Wifi. In just under two months, everything in the treehouse classroom was ready to go by the first day of school.

"I put decorations on the wall that came from my classroom, to make it feel like I was really at work," Williams tells PEOPLE of the project.

nellie williams
Credit: Emma Dabolt
nellie williams
Credit: Courtesy Nellie Williams

"My students love it," Williams adds of the reactions she received from her class.

Williams' students aren't the only ones who adore the treehouse.

nellie williams
Credit: Emma Dabolt

"What makes it slightly more interesting is that my pets tend to join me for the day in the treehouse and occasionally will make an appearance during class," Williams says. "I think anyone that has the opportunity to create their own space, especially a unique one, should absolutely go for it. Being able to work in my treehouse has made my year!"