Teacher to parents and students: We’re here with you

Fourth-grade teacher Nidia Latigo sits at her workstation Friday in between her online classes at her home in Brownsville. “ This is a calling for me. I go to work every single day, I get up every single day and I’m not complaining. I love what I do. I love helping kiddos. I love being in the classroom,” she said.(Denise Cathey/The Brownsville Herald)

Nidia Latigo, 46, has been a teacher for 15 years. Currently at Hudson Elementary, she teaches 4th grade reading and social studies. Despite the challenges of the job and the chaos that comes with this year’s transition to virtual learning, she says the students mean the world to her.

“ This is a calling for me. I go to work every single day, I get up every single day and I’m not complaining. I love what I do. I love helping kiddos. I love being in the classroom,” she said of her work.

Latigo was one of the first teachers in the Brownsville Independent School District to deliver at-home instruction to students during summer school — a task she initiated in cases where students had limited resources, she said.

“ We felt bombarded changing the game all of a sudden, going from the classroom to remote learning, really getting into technology to teach our kiddos. It was chaotic and stressful at times, but we managed,” Latigo said of the transition last spring.

She and other instructors have taken it upon themselves to attend trainings here and there, working outside of the classroom to gather as much information as possible in order to facilitate a smooth start to the school year.

“ The parents have stress as it is with all of this going on. As teachers, we have to try to make it work. We ask them for patience and flexibility. Technology is wonderful, but sometimes it can get the best of us,” Latigo said.

“ We just have to be very, very, very flexible. My students are my priority and I’ll do whatever I need to do to make sure they’re successful and that they have all the resources they need.”

Some students are waiting on a second shipment of devices to BISD in order to be able to participate in classes as needed. Latigo has a family with five children who are currently sharing one district-issued device.

Still, she is grateful for her colleagues and the administration at Hudson elementary. Staff works hard to keep morale high and motivate one another to teach better in the face of adversity.

“ Working with the kids, it’s so rewarding to see their faces and their progress. That’s what really makes it worth it. It makes you feel like — I did something, I did something right, and I made a difference,” said Latigo.

“ And I can really relate to my students. Some of our kiddos have very limited resources. Growing up, I was poor myself. I can relate to them and talk to them; I can get down to their level and really feel for them. And the parents, too.”

Asked what she would say to parents struggling with remote classes, Latigo answered, “Don’t stress over it. We’ll get through this together. Whether it’s online, by phone, or text — we’re going to get this job done. You are not alone.”

esheridan@brownsvilleherald.com