Virtual immersion

Erica Carrasquillo ’20 leaped feet first into the world of online learning at Federal Hill Elementary School in Baltimore during COVID.

Erica Carrasquillo

Erica Carrasquillo’s technology skills, acquired through her curriculum in the Department of Elementary Education, were a saving grace when her teaching internship shifted to the virtual environment. Through a series of Zoom meetings, the teacher trainee and her mentor transitioned a second-grade science and social studies curriculum to an online environment, posting self-teaching tools and assignments.

“Virtual learning has opened the door to new possibilities for the future of teaching,” says Carrasquillo. “One of the biggest benefits is the ability to customize teaching to the learning styles of individual students.”

Carrasquillo, an elementary education major, met daily in live-streaming sessions with students and quickly became aware of their challenges. “In addition to subject content, we had to prepare a series of ‘how-to’ videos how to log in, how to enter the Google classroom, and how to access assignments.”

“ Virtual learning has opened the door to new possibilities for the future of teaching. ”

Erica Carrasquillo

A first-generation college graduate who is bilingual in Spanish, she began teaching in fall 2020 at Charles Carroll Barrister Elementary School in Baltimore City, where 37 percent of students are native Spanish speakers. “The reality of first-year teaching did not exactly match my dreams, but I feel Towson has prepared me well,” says Carrasquillo. 

Trips abroad with Grace Life Collegiate working with teachers in Lusaka, Zambia and teaching English in Cambodia also helped prepare the new teacher. 

Her commitment in and out of the classroom led TU to honor Carrasquillo with the College of Education’s Frances T. Bond Award in spring 2020 for public service. 

“My experiences made me realize I wanted to teach elementary students,” says Carrasquillo, now a third grade teacher at Charles Carroll Barrister Elementary School. “Teaching someone to read is a miraculous life-changing experience.” 

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