Orange County tutor provides Spanish speaking support for parents struggling with distance learning

Carmen has a Florida teaching certification for kindergarten through sixth grade

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Orange County is now in its final days of distant learning--a process that has been challenging for some families.

But imagine how much tougher it is when you have to help your child with those assignments and you barely know the language yourself.

One Orange County tutor reinvented herself through social media after she was left without a job and realized there was a big need to help struggling parents in their native language.

“I think that it’s a good way to help other families,” Carmen Juncal said.

The educator had been a tutor for the Orange County Public Schools Read 2 Succeed program which helps first and second graders with reading comprehension skills.

But was let go from the program in March due to growing concerns from the pandemic.

"There was no way that I could perform any activity during this quarantine because my work is face to face," Juncal said.

Juncal moved from Venezuela four years ago where she was a teacher and is in the United States on a work visa. She says she can’t be unemployed for more than 90 days or she will have to go back to Venezuela.

Juncal says she realized the difficulties distant learning brought along when she tried to help her two children. The mother of two says that’s when she realized parents who don’t speak or understand English well, are probably having a harder time.

“I start thinking ‘what happened with the families of the students that I was tutoring’,” Juncal added.

Juncal opened an Instagram account to provide support in reading and vocabulary comprehension for free. She’s using social media as a way to reinvent herself and stay employed.

Adriana Porras is one of several parents that reached out to Juncal via Instagram for help.

"I don't have any experience in teaching," Porras said.

The stay at home mom is now in week nine of distant learning with her 8-year-old daughter.

“The first week was really, really hard,” she recalled. “It has been difficult and it’s not just the language, it’s like the system.”

Porras said after she met Juncal, school assignments seem to be easier to work through with her daughter.

“Carmen has been a huge help during this time,” Porras said.

Carmen also creates content and provides tips on how to stay on track with a daily routine--similar to what students had in school.

"That's when Carmen helps me a lot, trying to keep that schedule that she already had in the school," Porras said.

Carmen has a Florida teaching certification for kindergarten through sixth grade.

For more information or to learn more about Juncal’s tutoring, you can visit her Instagram page here.

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