California Educator

June/July 2020

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Page 25 of 63

LISA RAZO SECOND GRADE TEACHER at Kelley Elementary School in Thermal, and her husband RICHARD RAZO ENGLISH TEACHER at Coachella Valley High School; Coachella Valley Teachers Association RICHARD: It's interesting having two teachers teaching in the same house. I see her singing to students, but I teach high school, so I'm not going to sing. Yesterday I sat on one side of the couch and she sat on the other. We were both working with students. I was answering questions and she was in a meeting on Webex. Fortu- nately, we get along well. The pandemic has given me an insight into what my students know and do not know. Sometimes my students tell me they weren't taught something when they were younger. Next year I will be able to say, "Don't tell me that; you were taught that in second grade. I know this because I watched my wife teach it." There are so many growing pains. Our district has given one iPad to each family, so sharing can be extremely difficult for fami- lies with more than one child, which is most of our families. Reception in the desert can be spotty. Even some of our teachers are not able to be online. The district is offering a "hub" that students can set up at home, but many parents have not responded to the robocall that these are available. I have learned that even though kids are constantly using technology, they only understand apps and social media. They are having a difficult time downloading essays, even though it's a simple two-step process. When this is over, I will teach students how to use a computer correctly. LISA : Teaching in a pandemic is like nothing you ever anticipated. We're learning. We're trying hard and making it work. Some days it's great. The next day feels like a failure. It's very challenging. I don't think anybody realizes how much effort we are putting into this. Teachers are using Webex, Google Classroom, Zoom and Class Dojo. However, at this point, I am only able to connect with about 30 percent of my students online. We keep trying. The majority of my students are the children of farmworkers. Many are undocu- mented. They are working in the fields. Many of my students are babysat by older siblings. I know this is a very difficult time for families, so I'm more concerned about my students' survival and whether they are getting enough to eat than whether they are turning in lessons for me. The pandemic has changed my thinking. When school reopens, I'm going to spend more time building relationships with stu- dents and getting to know them better as people, as opposed to just teaching them. I will still push and motivate them to succeed. But I'm going to be more loving, kinder, funnier and sillier. Teaching in a pandemic teaches you what really matters. "When school reopens, I'm going to spend more time building relationships with students. Teaching in a pandemic teaches you what really matters." Teaching side by side Richard and Lisa Razo teach remotely, together. 24 feature C O V I D - 1 9

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