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Borderland teachers prepare for the first day of the Spring semester

Just as thousands of borderland students head back to school this week, thousands of teachers spent Monday getting ready.

Students and teachers have had the last two weeks off for Christmas break. Socorro Independent School District teachers say its an important break since Spring brings a bit more pressure in the classroom.

“One of my New Year’s resolutions was to not procrastinate,” said Mission Ridge Elementary teacher Amelia Miranda. “I was like ‘OK, if I’m not going to procrastinate, I have to have activities planned.'”

After two weeks off, teachers are turning back on.

“Actually my brain started turning on New Years Day,” Miranda said.

“Probably last night, Sunday night, is when you start thinking about “OK, what am I going to do, this is what is on our list of plans for the next semester,'” said Mission Ridge Elementary teacher Emmanuel Malanche.

While most Borderland students spent their final day of freedom sleeping in, their teachers were already at school.

“You feel the adrenaline rush, especially this nine weeks,” Malanche said. “It’s probably the most important time of the year.”

Spring brings STAAR testing for elementary and middle school students, meaning a year’s worth of learning will be measured.

“As a teacher, we work so hard throughout the year, definitely you feel the pressure,” Miranda said.

High school teachers will know if they hit the mark this spring by applying the goals of Operation Future Ready: a district-wide initiative to advance teaching through technology. Now teachers will have to incorporate phones, laptops and tablets into their lesson plans, or else risk graduating kids without real world skills.

“In the past where they have to look up in a book, and it takes them five minutes to look up a vocabulary word, now just by the click of a button, they have the definition and the vocabulary word in front of them,” said Pebble Hills High teacher Melinda Ayoub. “So its an easier way of teaching.”

After two weeks of R&R, teachers and students alike are rested, relaxed and recharged, ready to hit the ground running.

“We care about them. We’re ready to receive them,” Miranda said.

The El Paso, Socorro, Canutillo, Clint, Tornillo, San Elizario and Fabens school district start school Tuesday, Jan. 5. Ysleta ISD begins Wednesday, Jan. 6 and Las Cruces Public Schools returns Monday, Jan. 11.

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