English learners struggling more than other virtual students

Gabriela Fajardo
Posted at 4:00 AM, Feb 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-16 06:54:47-05

For Sabrina Ramirez, teaching is what fills her heart.

"They are very capable. They can learn anything. You just have to model it. But with patience, they can learn it. They're very capable of learning anything."

"I just love the kids," Ramirez explains. "I really do."

But teaching during this pandemic has come with plenty of obstacles, especially for a kindergarten teacher who was forced online at the beginning of the pandemic, like so many others.

"Hand gestures with the alphabet... I can still translate that from in-person to online. It's still challenging, I will not lie."

Something else that's challenging? Ramirez is also teaching her students a new language.

"English isn't easy to learn. There are so many rule changes."

According to a recent study from the Arizona State Board of Education, ELL (English Language Learner), students have struggled more academically than their peers during the pandemic.

Ramirez says the pandemic has meant less face-to-face time with other people their age, critical for anyone who's learning a new language, and that's meant struggles in other areas.

"I have noticed with emotional support - they need more of that. They were confined to their homes. And this was their first time having to be around other kids. So I feel like I'm dealing more with the emotional side of that. Being mindful. Taking those deep breaths in. We do that a lot."

Despite many challenges, Miss Ramirez says she is amazed every day by what her students accomplish.