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Student Voices in Remote Learning Series: Introduction

From Nepantla Teachers Community Leadership Team:


We know it’s been a few months since we’ve posted. In February, we extended a deadline to one of our teacher authors to provide a fuller picture of their experience. While this is a post we still intend to share at some point, we realized it wasn’t the most relevant work to put out once remote learning started. Our leadership team is made up of full time educators and we took some time to step back, reflect, and consider what was needed during this time. Since then, we’ve read and heard many teachers’ and local government leaders’ voices on the impact of remote learning in education. But there has been a lack of student perspectives and how the new stressors during this pandemic affect them. For this reason, we have decided to introduce a short end-of-school-series called “Student Voices in Remote Learning.” We recognize that these stories are not math-specific but we felt it was an important reminder as many teachers are making difficult decisions about semester grades and ending the school year well. We will be posting daily for a few days with 6th grade student-authors from Jerica Jurado's (Mx. Paz) classroom. If you have a student’s perspective you would like us to share, please email us at nepantlateachers@gmail.com.


From Mx. Paz (their math and language arts teacher):

The stories you will read this week were written by 6th grade students at Eberhart Elementary School, a public school in the southwest side of Chicago. Each student and their parent(s)/guardian(s) has given their permission to publish these stories on our blog.

During these difficult times, it is essential for each of us to remember our value and worth as a living being. All of us deserve to live dignified lives, and the inequities that we are witnessing cannot be accepted. We are living in times where the stress of meeting individual basic needs and the lack of sufficient institutional support are causing irreparable losses that were preventable. Many of us have to fight to find joy in our everyday lives while marginalized populations are fighting to survive. As teachers, we may often forget the struggles that our students go through are unique, because we think we remember what it was like to be their age.

Instead of remembering what life was like when I was a teenager, I am finding that to be the Social Justice Educator that I want to be during remote learning, I need to find ways to center student voices and experiences to co-create my virtual classroom. I’m not only teaching Math and Language Arts as “business as usual”. I am reaching out to connect with students, parents, teachers, and many others to support them in any way I have the capacity to. For the students’ stories you will read, it meant positioning them as authors of their stories. We have to work to remember that those icons we see in emails, google classrooms, google meets, or whatever digital platform we use with our students, are human beings who are struggling to find their “normal”. There is no normal in this remote learning, and whenever we go back to school it won’t be normal. We will have to build new routines, structures, and values that we want our classroom communities to embody.

Eventually, teachers will go back to the classroom with this remote learning experience, and we will have the power to build up young scholars who walk into our rooms or tear them down. We need more warriors of peace fighting to positively impact our world. I know I will continue working to build up young people, so they can see themselves as young scholars, agents of change, and authors of their stories. These student entries are meant to be a conversation starter for all of us who are working on re-imagining our social justice virtual spaces together.

The following stories are responses to the prompt: Share your story to capture the experience that a young person is going through during a global pandemic. This will be an opportunity to share your story with the world, and help others understand the struggles of a young person today. Possible messages in your story can include: hope, joy, stress, fears, problems, solutions, how to build more peace, advice to younger children, how you are taking care of yourself, what schools can do, remote learning challenges/successes, you can include your nature journaling, etc. Take advantage of this opportunity and echale ganas!

Con amor siempre se puede,

Jerica Jurado-Paz

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