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Teacher Nallely Esparza and her classroom on wheels. Teacher Nallely Esparza and her classroom on wheels.

Auto maker gives new wheels to teacher who took her class on the road

Nissan converted a new pickup into a mobile classroom

When Mexico’s public schools went online last April due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Aguascalientes special education teacher Nallely Esparza Flores found, like many teachers across the country, that not all distance learning was equal.

Many of her students in Cavillo were from poor families without internet access. So she used social media networks to keep in touch with such students via cell phones, but even that was not necessarily an available option for all — and not ideal. Finally, she decided to solve the problem by hitting the road in her pickup truck.

Since last year, Esparza has been driving four hours a day to educate students one-on-one at their homes from her truck bed, outfitted with a small table and chairs.

News of her project spread on social media networks, eventually reaching the corporate offices of Nissan México.

This week, the company surprised Esparza with the gift of a new pickup truck specially outfitted with a small open-air mobile classroom built into the truck’s bed.

Esparza inside her new classroom.
Esparza inside her new classroom.

“Today I feel like my labors and the help that we give each day to children and their families is unstoppable,” she said on Twitter Wednesday, sharing photos of her new vehicle. “My students no longer have to take classes in the full heat of the sun,” she said.

Nissan representatives said they decided to give Esparza the adapted NP300 model, 4-cylinder truck after hearing her story because she was “an example of perseverance and empathy.”

“When we learned about the incredible work of this teacher, we got together to discuss in what way we could contribute to this noble work,” said Armando Ávila, a vice president of manufacturing.

Esparza’s new setup has three walls and a ceiling made with translucent panels to protect teacher and student from the elements while letting in natural light.

It also has retractable steps for easy access to the classroom, electrical connections, a whiteboard and an easily disinfected acrylic table and benches that are foldable into the wall to provide space. The table also has a built-in plexiglass barrier to allow social distancing.

The dedicated teacher’s efforts have over time extended beyond educational house calls.

 

Since beginning her traveling classes, she began collecting provisions for her students’ families left without work by Covid-19. So far she has given out 63 care packages and has also raised funds to buy her students tablets.

“People like her make a difference in our society,” said Joan Busquets, another Nissan executive. “She deserves the best.”

Source: Milenio (sp)

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