Karen Almaraz explaining the Elodea Lab demo in her Living Earth classes. Photo Credit: Karen Alamaraz

Teachers | Living Through COVID-19

What is it like working through the pandemic as a Teacher?

By Karen Almarez, Science Teacher, Madera South High School

KAREN ALMARAZ IS currently a science teacher at Madera South High School. Being raised in Madera, Karen attended Eastin-Arcola Elementary, Dixieland Elementary, and graduated from Madera High School in 2010. Upon graduating from college, Karen knew she wanted to give back and serve as an educator in her community. When the opportunity arose in 2016 to teach in Madera Unified, Karen joined the MSHS Science Department. 

Teaching during the pandemic has challenged me to think outside the box to adapt and create a curriculum that is effective for distance learning. It has definitely been a different experience. There are many components that you have to simultaneously be aware of while teaching. From navigating between Zoom, Aeries, Google Classroom, Pear Deck, and other instructional tools, the ability to multitask effectively is key. The process is not necessarily easy and requires many hours of work, including meeting with my teaching team after school and on weekends to finalize our lessons. Yet, despite all these changes, the one thing that remains constant is my students’ continuous desire for meaningful and engaging learning experiences. And this is what drives me to continue growing and evolving as a professional.

In the midst of these unprecedented times, the relationships and connections with my students remain the highlight of my teaching experience. It is amazing how we have bonded over this new virtual reality, our favorite movies, music, activities, and interests. These daily interactions with students are my favorite part of the day. Seeing them have those light bulb moments as they engage with the content, ask questions, and relate what we are learning to current events like the Creek Fire is the best example. 

Moreover, I am thankful for living in a time where the advancements in technology make it possible to teach my students remotely even when we cannot meet in person. These opportunities allow me as an educator to support my students and help them achieve their academic goals. I look forward to the day when we can safely return to in-person learning and apply all the new skills I took away from this experience. Until then, we will continue moving forward virtually.

Image Credits: Karen Almaraz.


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