Why I love my job

Discussion in 'General Education' started by catnfiddle, Jun 15, 2010.

  1. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Jun 15, 2010

    Let me tell you a little bit about my work. Since most of you have read my posts, you know that I teach 12th grade English for an online charter school. I sit at my desk in my home office with my computer and phone while my students (ostensibly) do the same in their homes. I will usually work for several hours before I realize I’m still in my pajamas and need a shower. The students in my care will rarely answer the phone before noon because they, unlike me, do not have scheduled office hours and can do their lessons at any time of day or night. Many of them have day jobs or a family to raise. I usually take a couple of evening hours a night to track down those who are too busy during the day to chat with me.

    What do I do? I help my students to learn. There isn’t a ton of direct instruction and lecturing like in a traditional setting. Think of it more like I’m a one-on-one tutor to almost 200 independent learners. The best part of this is that I can tailor the material and how I teach it to each student who is willing to work with me. If one student is incredibly interested in Ophelia’s suicide and how that affected her family’s ability to bury her, I can talk about it with her. If another student cannot understand what the Wife of Bath has to say, I can explain her tale in plain English to him. If yet another student doesn’t need my help to get straight A’s, I check in once a week just to say hello.

    Another part of what I do is I drag my charges, sometimes with major protest, over the line to passing the class. The greatest myth about taking classes online is that it’s easy. Having been an online student for college classes, I have to laugh about this one. My students have to figure out The Canterbury Tales, Hamlet, and a novel from a selection for independent reading. They have to write a ton of essays with correct grammar and spelling (no text speak). They also have to know when to work things through on their own and when to ask for help. Too many of them never find that balance and shut down completely. The problem is that they must keep trying until they reach at least a 60% mastery of the material. This is why I send out packets, make a ton of phone calls, and occasionally get in my car to work with them in person.

    This past weekend was one of those times that made me remember that not only am I in the right line of work but that I’m doing it well. Graduation for the Class of 2010 was on Saturday afternoon. It took all of my mental strength to not constantly run up on stage every time I recognized a name of a student who had occupied my class and my heart. I was able to collect a few hugs, including from two former students who were named valedictorians (they didn’t have to speak, much to their respective relief). Those hugs will stay with me for a long time, as will the thank you notes, phone calls and Facebook friend requests from those who knew I only accept them from graduates.

    Wow, I get to do this all again next year? I’m thrilled beyond belief! However, I think I’ll enjoy my summer recess for a few weeks first.
     
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  3. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Jun 15, 2010

    cat~well said! Thanks for the post, and for reminding us why we're in this career!
     
  4. SwOcean Gal

    SwOcean Gal Devotee

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    Jun 15, 2010

    Oh! Hugs! Very Touching! So nice and uplifting to read!
    I definitely agree with you about online classes- they sure can be tough, but I loved online classes in college. They were the best! It was a perfect way to squeeze in one or two more classes without being on campus, but still be able to do it on campus if necessary. The best of both worlds! It is great to hear your passion and dedication! How wonderful- this is an amazing experience for your students- it must help them immensely when they get to college.
     
  5. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    They're really lucky to have you guiding them-even if it is in your pajamas! ;) Seriously, it's so great those kids are given an opportunity to an education that fits with their lives. You should be proud of yourself.
     
  6. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    The highlight of Saturday's graduation was to meet my equivalent of my class pet. He is the best writer I will ever have. I've gone out of my way to save his papers. He thrived on my license to take the assignments and run with them. He was one of my valedictorians and I got to see his induction into our first National Honor Society class. Afterward, I walked over to him and called him by his name. He looked at me and realized who I was without asking. Without a word, he hugged me. A year's worth of teaching was answered with that hug. I did a good job. I'll do even better next year if I can.
     
  7. Go 4th

    Go 4th Habitué

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    WOW Cat! I can honestly say that I've never thought a lot about what online teachers do. I'm ashamed to say that after reading your post. How awesome that you have the freedom with the curriculum to differentiate as you do. I'll bet your class stays with quite a number of students!

    Kudos to you!!!!!!!
     
  8. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jun 15, 2010

    catnfiddle, this has brought tears to my eyes. Bless you and thank you.
     
  9. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Jun 16, 2010

    Mine as well.
     
  10. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    Jun 16, 2010

    great post cat :)
     
  11. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    I know my work is rather alien to most of you. I'm glad you understand it a little better. They make me tear up a lot as well, sometimes out of frustration but lately it's been out of pride.
     
  12. Mrs Ski

    Mrs Ski Companion

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    Having completed my degree online, I know those feelings from the other side, and YES your students do appreciate you and are super excited to put a face with a person you know.
     
  13. Kangaroo22

    Kangaroo22 Virtuoso

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    Thanks for sharing, cat!
     
  14. Teachling

    Teachling Groupie

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    Uplifting, inspiring, amazing, a wonder, full of heart -- just a few things that came to mind when I read your post. I don’t always get a chance to read through all the threads & posts here but I was fortunate that I stumble on to this one. It's always great to here about what teachers do. I never get tire but yours was definitely unique.
    It was such a pleasure to read yours - such dedication & passion! I have some connections like having finished my 2nd year & looking back & thinking more clearly on the direction I want to take. I hope to some day soon be able to put on paper my feelings and thoughts with as much affirmation & love as you have. Thank you so much for your post. :clap::clap:
     
  15. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    Jun 19, 2010

    Cat, I think you said it all; whether it is in the classroom, online, or whatever else they can think of, it is all about the connection that we make with our students. You catch that smile, the hug, the glimmer in their eye, that says you made a difference in their lives, you touched them and they appreciate what you have done. In my mind, it is what this proffession is all about...
     
  16. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Jun 19, 2010

    This is nice work if you can get it! I wouldn't mind doing something like this! :)
     
  17. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Wow, all of this makes me blush. Thanks for the kind words. I was just so full of emotion after last week's graduation, I had to put it on paper.
     
  18. sue35

    sue35 Habitué

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    Jun 19, 2010

    Cat how did you get involved in online teaching? Was it something you always wanted to do?

    I think it is wonderful to share your side because I did not know all that goes into being an online teacher. It sound wonderful and yet very hard at the same time.
     
  19. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    I hadn't always wanted to go into online teaching exclusively, but I was extremely curious about it from the moment I heard about it. There weren't online schools widely available in PA when I earned my certification, but when I moved to Ohio, there were several in place. I emailed my college advisor back in Philly for advice but he had no experience in this platform. I kept my eye out for any job openings while subbing in several traditional schools and stumbled upon my current school. My professor now knows that I am a resource if he has current students with questions about online teaching.

    I'm glad to see more states allow this academic platform and am looking forward to seeing it grow.
     
  20. Teachling

    Teachling Groupie

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    What a great opportunity & you'll always be able to say that you were there in the early stages of it.
     
  21. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    Jun 19, 2010

    Why I love my job? June, July, and August, of course! (LOL!!)
     

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