Rosie L. Esparza is a fourth grade bilingual teacher and Campus Innovation Connector at McBee Elementary. As the CIC of her campus, she strives to constantly research and test out innovative instructional practices which she can present to her campus. When she is not at school, Ms. Esparza loves to drink coffee, read nonfiction books and craft.
At the beginning of the pandemic, it was scary to be a teacher and even more scary to be a science teacher. All my lessons revolved around hands-on learning, students getting their hands dirty and making in person observations of our experiments; I wasn’t sure how I would do that online. In the Spring, I was defeated and unsure how I would ever be able to finish the year teaching the TEKS I had left if I was behind a computer and 75% of my students hadn’t figured ZOOM out yet.
In the summer, I got the opportunity to work at a virtual summer school ALL summer and I have no regrets. June was rough, I was trying to get 10 year olds to write notes and ask questions and keep their cameras on. Things weren’t the same. We were on BLEND, a foreign country to most elementary students. But we persevered and eventually figured out the ins and outs of virtual learning. By July, my ZOOM classes involved total physical response, we were dancing to GoNoodle’s together and working on assignments on tablets. I was feeling a lot better.
We had no idea what we were in for when we started the concurrent teaching and learning. It was hard to get our face-to-face students off the laptops but keep our virtual learners engaged. There were SO MANY technology issues we were dealing with. The light at the end of the tunnel was not visible at all!
Throughout the hybrid teaching experience, I have been given the opportunity to meet with different groups on my campus and discuss ways we could raise student engagement. From, how do we get them to keep the cameras on? To, they won’t dance the GoNoodle with me? And, is an hour and a half too long of a ZOOM lesson? Throughout feedback sessions, research and just venting we have changed the culture of concurrent teaching and learning and what this has taught us is in person or behind a screen teachers are teachers and if we want students to learn we will do WHATEVER it takes to get them to do so!