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The EPISD Q&A: Isela Granados, Irvin High dance teacher

Isela Granados, Irvin

(IRVIN HIGH SCHOOL -- Sept. 15, 2020) — The resilience and creativity of EPISD teachers shines this year as they navigated online classes and virtually bonded with students. Irvin dance teacher Isela Granados is no exception. The seven-year teaching veteran who transformed her garage into her dance classroom was nominated for the next EPISD Q&A.

EPISD: Why did you become a teacher?

ISELA GRANADOS: I became a teacher because I love dance. I was inspired by my own high-school dance teacher, Mrs Zweber. I came to realize, though, that my passion was not only dance, but education when I started teaching. I am thankful for dance because I don't think I would have ever become a teacher. 


EPISD: How do you transition to teaching dance online?

IG: Teaching dance online has been challenging but not impossible. Although I would rather have my students in front of me in person, I made it as natural as possible for them. I have kept the same exact class format that I used to have when we were in person, so they already knew what to expect. As leaders of our classroom, it is our responsibility to set the tone. 


EPISD: Describe your workspace at home?

IG: I am currently teaching from my garage. Unfortunately, it is the only place I can play music and not disturb anyone else since my three other children are learning from home as well. It does get to 104 degrees in there though. It feels like a sauna. 


EPISD: What are your expectations for your students?

IG: For my students, I am expecting the same thing I expected when we were in person: full participation.


EPISD: What's the first thing you plan to do after the pandemic with your students?

IG: The first thing I will do after the pandemic is hug my students. We will also create formations and partner work. 


EPISD: How have the first few weeks gone?

IG: I can honestly say that the first few weeks of school have been good for me. I have such wonderful students at Irvin that love dance. My goal is always to win them over. Once they love you, they will show up for you. 


EPISD: What do you do to help students struggling with dance moves?

IG: With students struggling with dance moves I put them in breakout rooms through Zoom, so that my stronger dancers can help my new dancers. 


EPISD: Anything you'd like to add?

IG: I have to say that I have been impressed with my students. During these tough times, they have showed up and continued to do the work. I am not sure what I would have done at that age but they continue to amaze me. What a wonderful experience it has been to witness it all. 

Interview by Reneé de Santos