Giving Compass' Take:
- At EdSurge, Lillian E. Agosto-Maldonado highlights the resilience of teachers in Puerto Rico to support students through gaps in access to technology during crisis.
- How can we elevate the voices of educators in Puerto Rico in order to work towards consistent, effective solutions for students' access to tech? What is the funder's role in helping to remove barriers for teachers in Puerto Rico?
- Learn more about why schools are so important to communities in Puerto Rico.
What is Giving Compass?
We connect donors to learning resources and ways to support community-led solutions. Learn more about us.
The pandemic has been just one of the challenges facing teachers in Puerto Rico. The island is still struggling with the aftermath of the 2017 Hurricane Maria, which destroyed a large part of the electrical system. And in January 2020, a series of earthquakes left many children in the southern part of the island without schools, after compromised buildings had to be closed for safety reasons.
So that has made remote teaching during the pandemic an even greater challenge, since many students struggled to find reliable power, as well as computers and Internet access.
For Luis A. Martínez Moyet, a math teacher at Villa Granada Middle School, located in San Juan, that meant getting creative, asking students to use short lessons and resources on sites like Khan Academy and ThatQuiz.org, and being available at all hours.
"The interesting thing was to see students doing their homework at 11:00 p.m., and I was ready to attend to them,” says Martínez Moyet. “They called me or wrote to me on WhatsApp. There was a lot of communication between teacher and student—information flowed.”
Starting in July 2020, the Puerto Rico Department of Education distributed computers to connect to classes and implemented the Microsoft Teams system as the official teaching system. However, the digital divide has remained.
"Even though they had the equipment and free Internet access paid for by the state, they didn't know how to handle it,” says Martínez Moye. “The problem was the technology gap” in terms of skills.
Despite the challenges of online education, however, some teachers see bright spots.
“I love the transformation I had as a teacher—it has been rewarding,” says Martínez Moyet. “The students are working a lot. For me, this is a moment of overcoming.”
Read the full article about teachers in Puerto Rico by Lillian E. Agosto-Maldonado at EdSurge.