Teachers take a school bus tour of the Jericho school...

Teachers take a school bus tour of the Jericho school district during new teacher orientation Aug. 16. Credit: Corey Sipkin

A diverse trio of teachers newly hired by the Jericho school district talked to Newsday about their expectations and concerns for the coming year.

The district, the first of Long Island's 124 systems to welcome back students for the new academic year, opened its school doors Thursday.

Andrea Hernandez Gallegos, 33, a Spanish teacher, formerly taught at schools in Mexico and the Bronx.

Andrea Hernandez Gallegos.

Andrea Hernandez Gallegos. Credit: Corey Sipkin

"I worked very hard in the last school that I was at to try to create a community and a sense of learning that, yes, it is a Spanish class, it's a language class, it's supposed to be fun," Gallegos said. "But I liked that my students feel that they are learning something and that they actually will use it, even if it's just to go and order … at a store, at a restaurant. Before leaving my previous school, a student emailed me and he said, 'Oh, I'm sad that you're leaving, but I was hoping to share with you that I was able to order food at a restaurant in Spanish.' "

James Yoon, 26, a band teacher, formerly served in a U.S. Army Band.

James Yoon.  

James Yoon.   Credit: Corey Sipkin

"Well, there will always be a constant awareness and sense of caution, given the fact that we were just and are still in a pandemic. ... But one thing that I want for my students and expect from them as we jump into the school year this year is to rekindle or kindle a love of music," Yoon said.

"I know that a lot of students this past year or two may have lost their interest in it, because they weren't in person. It was either remote learning or hybrid learning in music. Very difficult, very difficult to do remote. Can be done, but very challenging."

Alyssa Lionetti, 24, who teaches social studies and special education, formerly taught at a private academy in Suffolk County.

Alyssa Lionetti.

Alyssa Lionetti. Credit: Corey Sipkin

"I'm really excited, because in this environment, it's a smaller group of kids," Lionetti said. "So I really have the ability to differentiate, to meet those individual students' needs in my classroom. ... I really enjoy teaching about the French Revolution, because it's right in the start of the school year. So … [I'm] able to really create engaging lessons with my students right from the start of the school year."

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