Austin ISD teacher has after hours ‘porch visits’ with students

The ISD teacher in Austin has visits on the porch with students after hours

An ISD teacher from Austin stands up for her virtual students by visiting the porch after hours.

Many students studied virtually for almost a year due to the pandemic. An ISD teacher from Austin stands up for her virtual students by conducting visits to the porch after hours to ensure these kids get the personal interaction with their teacher that they have missed for some time.

“It goes with who you are, like it really doesn’t stop being a teacher,” said Paloma Gonzalez.

Paloma Gonzalez is a 1st grade teacher at Becker Elementary. She says that her students are very important to her and that is why she takes the time every school day to check in with her personally and with virtual students to see how they are feeling.

“Usually they’re excited because it’s their parents’ birthday, but sometimes they’re sad, especially those at home. They miss school,” she said.

One of those students who told her she was upset was Gianna Altanero.

“Gianna was very upset and started crying,” said Gonzalez.

Gianna’s father, David Niegsch, says she has been studying remotely for almost a year. She did great, but it’s starting to take a toll on her.

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“She misses her friends very much. She misses this one-on-one interaction,” said Niegsch.

Gonzalez decided to visit Gianna to make her feel better. “I think it’s my job to get to or go to the places where the students are and make sure they still have that connection with their teacher.”

Gonzalez says she made a visit to the porch for several virtual students throughout the school year. Gianna says she was very happy to see her teacher, and Gonzalez spent an hour with her student. They worked on schoolwork, ate a few cookies, and just talked.

“To let someone go, ‘I’ve been working all day, I’ve been teaching in person, I’ve been teaching online, and now I’m going to drive to your house and sit with your daughter for an hour,’ I really couldn’t describe how grateful we are not only, but also for it, “said Niegsch.

Gonazlez says the point of her visits to the porch is to help the student.

“I’m sure it helped her feel more connected and cared for. I hope it helps her just feel supported and loved,” said Gonzalez.

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