I officially started with Michigan Virtual Charter Academy teaching third grade online for K12.com. I am getting my “sea” legs, so to speak. It is all a bit overwhelming, I can’t lie. Having a year’s worth of curriculum and books arrive and learning the technology…it is a lot! I haven’t taught for a few years and going from a brick and mortar classroom to an online classroom and curriculum is a major transition. It is like riding a bike but forgetting how to pedal and balance. I know it will all come back to me and I do have two degrees, certification and experience so really it is just a matter of time before I can ride the bike no-handed!
I’ve been spending an enormous amount of time in training. This means a lot less time engaging online. Another major change for me and even though I miss the interaction with my online blogging friends, I find that I haven’t gone through withdraw (believe it or not)! This is probably because I am spending a lot of time online with my team of 4 other third grade teachers. Though we all work from home throughout the state of Michigan, we talk with each other throughout the day through an instant messaging program. It is very team oriented and collaboration based. I love this part so far, they are all so knowledgeable, kind and supportive.
So far here is what I am enjoying about my K12.com teaching experience:
Training and Support: There are hours of training modules and courses to help me teach online, understand the new technology and expectations. I’m not just thrown in blind to figure things out on my own. The team of teachers I work with help me and the training modules, online staff meetings and documents provided to me are use very useful
Data: I like data and I like that I can see each and every day where my students are with lessons, the curriculum and how they are progressing. I can identify issues immediately to swoop in to help or to aadvance a child if needed.
Communication: Think of a 3 legged stool, without one leg the stool will not stand. To have a successful school year the teacher, the student and the parent or learning coach has to all communicate and work together. I love that I have direct communication with my students and their parent or learning coach on daily basis if needed. This can be through one-on-one instruction, email or a phone call. It is very personal and I like this. I remember teaching and never even talking or meeting the parent because the children rode the bus and the parent did not attend conferences. Being a part of the online K12.com school means that the parent or learning coach has to have a vested interest and make the stool stand, like the analogy.
My Home Office: I enjoy working from home and not having to get “dressed” up daily. I like my home office environment and having my dog hang out with me. I get to create an environment that suits me and lets me work how I am comfortable and that fosters my creativity. I also get to be home for my children and that is a major plus, plus, plus! I have to say, I have some organization to do of my office to accommodate all the books and curriculum but that is exciting!
Normal Working Hours: For the most part I’ve had more predictable and normal working hours (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.) in comparison to working until 12 a.m. occasionally or being on EST time and having Pacific time zone meetings (which means during dinner time). I now can be “present” when my son is playing flag football and not on a conference call. It is very nice.
This has been my personal experience so far and I will continue to update you, answer your questions and share my lesson ideas, experiences, tips and more! A new and fun adventure that I look forward to sharing and I can’t wait to teach lessons about recycling, give Earth Day activity ideas and read some of my favorite children’s books about going green!