Lauren Weber is the Social Studies Department Chair at the Insight School of Kansas.
As the holidays grow near I am reminded of the fact that I have a lot to be thankful and grateful for and the opportunity I have to teach in online school is high up on that list.
Here are my top 5 reasons that I am thankful to teach in an online school:
1. Unique Learning Environment-I absolutely love that we provide the opportunity for students to learn in an environment that they can help shape. They can create a workspace from the comfort of their own home and also have the ability to “move” this learning space if needed. Some of our students came to our school because they did not feel safe or secure at their previous brick and mortar school. By allowing them to learn in an environment that is more conducive to their education, they are more likely to succeed and thrive.
2. Opportunities to focus on small groups and 1 on 1s- Not all students learn the same way or at the same speed. Our curriculum and schedule allow for us to analyze our data and offer small group sessions or 1 on 1s to students who are struggling with the content. I am then able to present the material to the student in a new way and offer differentiated instruction as needed.
3. Ability to challenge more students- In every classroom there are students who excel. Often times in a brick and mortar setting the students are left to wait for the rest of the class to catch up with them, but our schedule and curriculum allow us to offer enrichment and challenge them in new ways. I love being able to meet with my Honors students each week outside of regular class to work on challenging content or explore topics they have interest in.
4. Engaging social opportunities- Most people think that online students lack the ability to socially interact with other students their age, but we strive to go above and beyond in providing opportunities for our students to meet and socialize. For example, recently we had a movie outing, a service project activity, an ice skating outing, and our popular Fall Festival. This year’s Fall Festival was held in two different locations on opposite sides of the state. Students ate pizza, played games, decorated cookies, and made new friends.
5. Student Choice- I say it a lot, but education is not one-size-fits all. I am so thankful that students and families have a choice on how and where to receive an education. What works for some students may not be ideal for others, but the important thing is that they have more than one option. The fact that I teach at a school that students choose to attend so they can excel in a learning environment best suited for them is something I am grateful for and thankful for each and every day!