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When I was diagnosed with cancer this past February, one of the first things I decided was that I wanted tocontinue my life as usual. I wanted to help my 8th graders at Georgia Cyber Academy (GCA) continue through to the end of the year, and if that meant having a few bad days here and there, I’d be all right with that. In a brick and mortar school, I would’ve had to take off for the rest of the year to focus on this personal battle that forever changed my life. However, thanks to K12’s flexible format, that hasn’t been the case. I’ve even been able to bring my laptop to my chemotherapy appointments! Virtual teaching has allowed me to keep my life as normal as possible, even in this extremely abnormal time in my life.

For years I wanted to be a virtual teacher. Like most K12 teachers, I used to teach at brick and mortar schools. When my daughter was born, I worked part time at a homeschool hybrid and loved the flexibility. When one of the parents mentioned K12, I applied. Now, I’m in my second year, and I have to say that this is the best place that I have ever taught. I have really found my niche in education.

I teach language arts in the Advanced Learning Program (ALP) and have received an incredible amount of support with regard to my battle with cancer. When I shared my diagnosis with my students, it was humbling to receive so many kind words of encouragement- – one of my students even sent me a card and a gift in the snail mail!

I’ve heard from many of my students that schedule flexibility is one of the main things that attracted them to online schooling, and now I’m seeing the benefits myself. When I go to chemotherapy, I am able to bring work to do so I don’t miss anything. Chemo is extremely tiring, and a lot of the time I need to take Mondays off in order to fully recover from the treatment. But I find that I can get everything that I need to get done in the other four days of the week with no problems.

With Teacher Appreciation Day being this week, children all over the country are honoring their teachers. I have received the same thanks from my students. I am grateful I can complete the school year without any disruptions, while getting the treatment I need. Finally, one extremely important and happy footnote, I am excited to share that thanks to my wonderful doctors, I may be officially cancer free by this summer!

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