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Okla. teacher on 'America's Funniest Home Videos' after distance learning video goes viral

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(Photo: Travis Sloat)

TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) – Travis Sloat was 20 minutes into his digital English lesson when his eyes drifted to something he missed.

"Sure enough, yeah, 20 minutes of that and then you can see it in my eyes," he said. "The second my eyes cut that direction, the head sort of hangs."

His wife's bra was still hanging on the door handle behind him, even after he combed the background of his shot to make sure there was nothing distracting or embarrassing.

Sloat's mistake happened in the early days of the pandemic when teachers were throwing together distance learning videos on the fly.

"I was just rolling through, my head trying to think, 'OK, they're used to seeing my face, let's get a video out there,'" he said. "Yeah, sure enough, I found some challenges with that."

Sloat did not want his 17-year-old students distracted by his wife's "cameo," but his friends wanted to see it. Once he posted the video, it took on a life of its own, racking up hundreds of thousands of views.

"I just can't believe it," Sloat said. "I tell people I'm famous for the dumbest stuff. I tweeted something the other day I thought was fantastic, this was going to be my viral tweet, and no. Didn't happen. But hang a bra up in the background and teach over it, and here we are."

Sloat's video was featured on the season premiere of "America's Funniest Home Videos" this past Sunday. He's a finalist, which means he could win up to $10,000.

While his distance learning struggles wound up making him a bit of cash, that is clearly not the case for all those teachers working hard to keep kids engaged.

"Man, it's tough," Sloat said. "Talk to the teachers in your life, make sure they're doing OK, and the students, because I think the students are struggling too."

To make it a bit easier on the kids, he now has an ace up his sleeve.

"If I've gotta have a 17-second period or a 30-second period where I show it a couple of times, and it gets their attention up front or eyes on me, or we close out the class and end on a high note, I don't mind it," Sloat said.