Yajaira Lopez

Forget the old paradigm of a child not wanting to go to school. COVID-19 has changed all that.

According to The New LIFE School’s Special Education teacher Yajaira Lopez, “the students need the school and love coming to the school. They say they prefer going to school rather than doing the remote learning.”

From Yajaira’s standpoint also, she misses the face-to-face engagement.

Our New LIFE School provides a therapeutic setting for New York City students who have struggled academically, behaviorally, and emotionally. We also provide continuing education, such as barbering and culinary programs.

Some of the students find it challenging to follow directions on their own, and to stay focused and on track. Yajaira makes a point of calling and texting them often. Not just about academics but to check in emotionally, to make sure they are mentally healthy. “Even adults are taking this particularly hard,” she explains. She and other teachers at our New LIFE School use Team Meets for one-on-ones, class discussions, teacher and staff meetings, and check-ins.

Though our student body starts at the third-grade level, Yajaira has always worked with our eleventh and twelfth graders as well as our continuing education programs. She was recently given a teacher recognition award for the 3rd marking period.

“In the beginning, it was challenging,” she says. “But little by little I just fell in love with the children. They just pulled on my heart strings.”

Yajaira feels solidarity with her coworkers in knowing that they are all on the same page with their goals for the students.

“I guess I’ve got this weak spot in that I want them to have the absolute best that they can,” she says. “I don’t take any shortcuts. I don’t want to be another reason why they don’t succeed. I want to give them all I can and much more.”

It’s not just about education she says. It’s about impacting future generations.

She talks about the day when they will walk out of the school building, how the foundation they will have received at The New LIFE School will have prepared them for their future lives. “It’s a new day, a fresh start. It’s not the end,” she says. “We all have second chances; we all have a chance to move forward. It’s not just about learning, it’s about growing.”

Learn more about The New LIFE School: https://bit.ly/lssTAylf

#LSSNY#FacesOfLSSNY; #TeacherAppreciationWeek