San Juan, Puerto Rico—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 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.”
For Antonio Sierra, who teaches visual arts in a school in San Juan, one challenge has been overcoming the lack of materials for his art classes.