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1. So do you just monitor online work?
Yes, I DO monitor online work but so much more too!  I call families. I TEACH students in a virtual classroom. I create and constantly update beautifully, colored spreadsheets to keep track of my student’s progress, test scores, assignment scores, attendance, and intervention supports. I tutor students in a virtual math lab. I hold small group virtual class sessions to help my struggling learners. I collaborate with my colleagues. I brainstorm strategies to engage my reluctant learners.  I create dynamic math lessons.

2. Do you wear your pajamas to work every day?
Nope!  Usually yoga pants and a comfortable shirt.

3. So…. you don’t actually teach, then?
I teach live classes in the virtual classroom every day!  Whole group classes, small group classes, one-on-one sessions, and math lab for drop-in math support.  I record my live class sessions so if students miss my session, they can view the recording later – one of my favorite features of teaching online (not an option in the public school setting).

4. How do you “teach” virtually? Usually with an incredulous look on their face
I engage with students and teach them math concepts.  We use an online classroom tool called Blackboard (used by many universities) to present classes.  Students are able to interact with me using the chat box, emoticons, board tools, polling or even the webcam. These tools help me to monitor student engagement and understanding.

5. Do you plan to go back to teaching at a real school again?
A “real school”? I’m at one! We are a real school but offered in a format that works for students that need an alternative to their brick and mortar school. Some students live in a rural area, were bullied in their previous school, don’t have a school that fits their needs, want to combine school with their religion, or are training for major events such as the Junior Olympics or a ballet company.

Elizabeth Nelson teaches 8th grade math and is a Lead Master Teacher at Arizona Virtual Academy (AZVA).

About The Author

Elizabeth Nelson

Elizabeth Nelson teaches 8th grade math and is a Lead Master Teacher at Arizona Virtual Academy (AZVA). Before joining AZVA, Elizabeth taught math in Arizona and Indiana for 4.5 years.  She became a business owner and mother before ultimately realizing that teaching was her passion.  Elizabeth graduated from Indiana University with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a minor in economics.  In 2009, she earned a second bachelor’s degree, this one in secondary math education. In 2014, she received a master of science in educational leadership from Ball State University. Elizabeth lives in Mesa, Arizona, with her husband and enjoys family time spent with their combined eight children. Elizabeth loves taking photos, math, adventures, learning, and spending time outdoors with her family.

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