How Living Through A Pandemic as a Mom and Educator has Affirmed the Importance of Quality Public Schools

Over the years of my career, I have not gone through so much in such a short amount of time. 2020 will be a year to remember in so many lives with living through a pandemic, distance learning, black lives matter, and the elections. The pandemic has changed many lives within the last 6 months, it sure has changed mine as an educator and as a mom/wife. Waking up to the news that Covid was spreading fast and how many lives were being affected, for me, reaffirmed the value of educational support in our communities.

The morning of March 13th 2020, I woke up and did not feel well. I walked into my classroom that day still feeling ill. I thought of asking if I could go home, but that morning in our huddle of teachers and educators, we were told that we might already be sent home for the day via our task force that had been working closely with the CDC. Since I expressed I was not feeling well, I was sent home because the school was taking the necessary precautions to keep students and teachers safe. A short time later the rest of the staff was sent home too.

The transition to distance learning wasn’t exactly smooth. March 13th was a Friday, and by Monday we had only one day of teacher professional development training to make the distance learning switch for our students. Distance learning was happening with my own children as well at KIPP middle and high school. I needed to get them up and running on their class work at home as well. I was just becoming familiar with the platforms we were going to use with kinder families. Facebook would be our main platform to connect with our students. I would use Zoom and record lessons for students to see that week. I had to tell my own children I was going to record so they didn’t make any noise; if they did I would have to re-record a 20 min video because they came in talking. Sometimes it felt like a mess, but I was determined to make it work. 

Most of my days were spent recording, lesson planning, and texting/calling students and their parents. I had to check students online programs on a daily basis and keep them engaged so they did not give up, because we didn’t have the structure a classroom provides. The emotional part was talking to families and students stating that they missed their teachers and asking when would we be back. Families did not know what to do and needed extra support. They had to learn a completely different system to help their children with online learning. As a mom I know how they were feeling, because I had my children at home and they were also asking when they could go back to school. They missed their friends and socializing. 

For many of these families, myself included, engaged educators and schools have been a godsend in a pandemic. For many families, we are a life-raft during a year it’s easy for children to fall behind. Unfortunately this year has exacerbated the fact not everyone has access to these kinds of schools. While our switch to distance learning has not been perfect, passionate and driven educators and schools should be the cornerstone of every community.

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Marisol Guerra

Marisol Guerra

Marisol is a parent leader and educator born in Santa Clara County who currently lives in East Side San Jose with her husband, two sons and daughter. She is a parent at KIPP Prize and KIPP San Jose Collegiate and founding parent and educator at Rocketship Rising Stars Academy. She connects to her Mexican roots on her fathers’ side. She started her love of teaching when she was 16 years old by working with children that had many different disabilities and not long into her career, she knew she wanted to be the voice and advocate of all children’s education. Marisol started to realize that it will take a lot of hard work and dedication to voice for students. Along the way she has learned about the impact and decisions that public officials, school board members and the school administrators make that impact students and their education. Marisol has been an advocate for school of choice since 2009 when she helped authorize 21 high quality public charter schools for Rocketship public education. She is an Advocate for her children, students and families. She supports parent advocacy, school of choice and for students to attend high quality schools. Marisol graduated from James Lick High School in 2001, she also received her BA in Early childhood Education in October of 2019.

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