The Family-Teacher Relationship
One of the great parts of being in a cyber school is that there is a constant desire to become better as a school, as families, and as a teacher. Each year something is changed in order to help make the curriculum better, make the technology more accessible or help the school progress. This year our school has been focusing on making visits to our students’ homes.
I have had some amazing experiences visiting with my students this year—and I mean amazing in every sense of the word. I have had crazy dogs attack, crazy siblings attack, security checkpoints, homes with no cell phone or GPS reception, and directions that included, “that dirt road has no name but if you go on it until it bends up a hill then you turn on another dirt road with no name.” I have also met the most amazing families with so many things different but one thing in common: Their previous schools were not meeting the needs of their children, and they have chosen to come to a cyber school.
I had one visit this week that was a wonderful experience, because it showed me what one successful family was doing to remain successful, and they said some things that make reflect on one very important aspect of being an online teacher.
To be successful they had a workspace for each of their children. While this isn’t possible for every family, this particular one is able to have a separate area and desk for each of their students. I believe that having a tidy workspace greatly helps in being a successful online student.
They also had a set work time. Their school schedule was flexible, but it was a time set aside each day to do schoolwork, and I have found that having a schedule really leads to more success in online courses. The other thing they had was good relationships with their teachers. They told me about their teachers from past years with Agora. They spoke fondly of some wonderful educators who had known the subject material, but more importantly, they spoke of the teachers who made personal connections with them in a cyber environment.
This situation made me reflect on my years teaching in a cyber school and think about the students I have worked with and known. It made me reflect on the relationships I have made and fostered. I thought of live lesson times, e-mails, outings, graduations, and even state testing. I am always amazed at how close we can come to each other despite the distance that divides us.