In a year like no other, the world has been confronted with setbacks, challenges and an array of disruption. The education industry is no exception, and with many schools moving to a virtual space, teachers have shown creativity, resilience and longevity to a situation that has no definitive end in sight.
Erica Rangel, a third-grade teacher at Manassas City Public School, is one of these teachers.
For the last 12 months Erica has been required to teach solely online and has risen to the challenge and responded to her students’ mathematics needs through her many skills and via the support of the ORIGO core mathematics program, Stepping Stones.
Recognising Erica’s commitment and outstanding work, Sara Birkhead, Math Coach at Manassas City Public School, nominated Erica for the ORIGO Teacher of the Month. This award recognises and celebrates mathematics teachers who are making an impact in the classroom.
“Math instructional time is limited in the virtual setting, yet Erica manages to maximise her small group time as well as her resources,” said Ms. Birkhead.
“Through structure, ongoing practice and her ability to be highly engaging, Erica has allowed herself time to find and support many areas where her students had not yet mastered the content, and this is evident through her students understanding and their positive grades.”
Erica has over 13 years’ experience teaching third, fourth and fifth grade students, spending only the last two in the Manassas City Public School District.
“Our mathematics classes are 60 minutes in total, and I know that I probably only get 10-12 minutes of attention in that time from the students” said Erica.
“It’s for this reason that I use the math games available in Stepping Stones which I cast to the students, and then shape the lesson from there. Using games and screen casting has been really effective in the virtual space and I think it’s something I will continue with as we move back to face-to-face learning.”
Despite her effective teaching practices and ability to remain collected in the changing landscape of 2020 and 2021, teaching mathematics was not always something Erica enjoyed.
“I actually never really liked teaching mathematics until last year when I started using Stepping Stones.
“When I first started at the school, we used an old program that mimicked the way in which we were taught math. As the grade level’s head teacher, I put an end to that and implemented ORIGO’s core program, Stepping Stones.
“Within a matter of weeks, we noticed math scores significantly rise and I was actually learning things right alongside my students!
“It’s been a real joy to see those ‘ah-ha’ moments when information turns into understanding and I definitely think Stepping Stones has been a big contributor to the positive change in attitude that both my students and myself have experienced when it comes to math.”
ORIGO Education is thrilled to present the January Teacher of the Month 2021 award to Erica Rangel for her outstanding work and commitment as a mathematics teacher.