EL PASO, Texas-- One Parkland Middle School teacher is going out of her way to make sure her students feel loved and appreciated during this pandemic.
It was back in October when we introduced you to Michelle Sandoval Villegas, an 8th grade math teacher at Parkland Pre-Engineering Middle School. She had just been named the 2020 Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year and the beginning of the school year was turning out to be a great one for Mrs. Sandoval and her students and then the pandemic happened.
“I had such a great year winning Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year and on March 13th I didn’t know that that was going to be the last day I was going to see my students,” said Sandoval.
Like most teachers around the country, the Coronavirus put a damper on the end of the school year for teachers and their students. Regular school days turned into not so regular distance learning from home.
“Distance learning is definitely not the same thing as being inside of the classroom, but teachers have been so innovative and creative in the ways they reach their students,” said Sandoval.
She found a way to connect with her students on a personal level for Social Hour every Tuesday of the week.
"Every week we would meet up and it was not school related. We wouldn’t talk about anything about school we would just talk about life, Netflix, video games," said Sandoval.
At the end of these Tuesday Social Hours, Mrs. Sandoval would have family dinner raffles for her students that joined in on social hour. After seeing the excited reaction from the students and their families, she decided to go a step further to make her students feel even more loved.
“I knew I was doing something right so I wanted to do more and I wanted to create care packages for my students. I knew that they loved getting something at their front door from me so I started creating care packages. Inside of these care packages were just motivational letter, candies, something from their personality like if I knew they liked to draw, some art materials,” explained Sandoval.
She teamed up with local businesses such as Partners in Education, Peter Piper Pizza and Chick-Fil-A to help fill up these care packages.
Throughout the pandemic, Mrs. Sandoval delivered the care packages safely to each of her students at their homes.
For those students, seeing their middle school math teacher with the care packages helped put a smile on their faces, and for Mrs. Sandoval it was a way to make sure her students knew how much their teacher loved and appreciated them.
“These care packages are just a little piece of the puzzle in order to fulfill the lives and the hearts of our students all around,” said Sandoval.
She plans on continuing these care packages throughout the rest of the summer.