Elementary Teacher Goes Out Of Her Way For Her Students — By Visiting Them At Home

Schools face a constant challenge — how to get families more engaged in what’s happening in the class.

By Bill ZeebleNovember 8, 2016 9:30 am, , ,

From KERA News

“Está va yo allí,” Esther Martinez says laughing, as she makes her way to an apartment in a modest, single-story complex. School may be over,  but Esther Martinez isn’t finished. The second grade teacher is visiting one of her students — Sarai — at the family’s apartment in South Irving.

“Martha! And this is Sarai,” Martinez says to the 7-year-old as she reaches their apartment. Sarai’s mother, Martha Arellano, welcomes the teacher.

In the small apartment, Martinez pulls out a book and sits down with the mother and daughter on the sofa. Dad is out. He’s taking a citizenship class.

“Esta niña,” Martinez says to Sarai. “Do you want to tell her about your reading or do you want me to tell her?” “

“You tell her,” Sarai says.

“Do you want to tell her what level you’re on?” Martinez asks.

Mom, whose has limited English, says, “You can tell her in English, if you want.”

A few minutes later, the student’s showing her teacher her favorite doll.

“I’ve had her since I was little.” Sarai says.

“Really?” Martinez asks. “Where does she come from?”

Eyes wide open, Sarai says “My cousin gave her to me at Christmas.”

Sarai’s elated. So is Martinez.

“This is her favorite part,” Martinez says about Sarai showing off her little house to the teacher.

This home visit is about school work. It’s also about building relationships, developing trust. Martinez has been making these home visits for 14 of her 17 years teaching, and says they’re the most important thing she does as a teacher. At Sarai’s house, Martinez is like the favorite aunt. A smiling Arellano offers her guest a snack of chips and guacamole.

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