MS Homeroom, Language Arts, and Social Studies Teacher
I've been teaching at IQ CALA for four years. I love the challenging curriculum, and the fact that I can differentiate it to suit the needs of my students. I can change things to meet the needs of my classes, adding something new, or adjusting an assignment to tailor it to the students I'm teaching that semester. I love the faculty with whom I teach. We are all dedicated to making our students successful, and we really try hard to connect with the kids.
The biggest challenge of teaching in this environment is that we can't see the kids, and they can't see us, so it's hard to get "face time". For me, it's a personal mission to reach out and make a connection to my students and their families. I won't say I'm always successful, but the connections I've made have made a difference, and I'm proud of that.
When I talk about what I do, everyone is amazed. They can't believe that middle school can be effectively taught in the online environment, but it's really not that hard to envision. Today's kids are much more tech savvy than the adults I know, and it's an interesting media for them to investigate. We bring in lots of resources to make the lessons interesting and engaging, and we try hard to present appealing lessons so the kids want to attend and learn. People want to know how we help kids that need it. We have weekly Live Help office hours online so kids can come in and ask questions and get help, or just work quietly, as they would in a library or study hall setting. The curriculum is all online for middle schoolers, so they have almost everything they need, as long as they have an Internet connection.
Of course, parents are a big part of what we do and how we do it. We couldn't do what we do without the home partners. We work to build a partnership with the learning coaches/parents, and provide support for them, as well as for their kids. I taught for over a decade in brick and mortar and never got to know my school parents in the same way that I know my IQ parents. I I love that connection, and it strengthens my teaching, and facilitates my getting to know my students.
If you had told me five years ago that I'd be teaching middle school online, I'd have called you crazy, but if you asked me to go back to brick and mortar school teaching now, I'd call you the same. I love what I do!