Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Beginning

My "classroom" AKA the command center

Some days I have to pry myself away from the computer screen, like many teachers force themselves to finally pack up, turn the lights off, and go home at the end of the day. The difference for me, is that I am already home. I am home all day from when I wake up to when I log off. My classroom is not a large room filled with posters of famous artworks and cabinets full of art supplies as I once imagined it would be. My classroom is a place inside the computer that students access when they want and where I am free to teach in my pajamas.
It was almost by accident that I became involved with online teaching. As someone who experienced my own personal education as well as student teaching in a traditional brick and mortar school, I was skeptical in the beginning. I wondered how I would feel not seeing my students face to face every day. I wondered how I would be able to judge the amount of effort students put into their work or how I could help them if they were struggling.
Last year, I became a substitute teacher for a very large online charter school in Ohio. How do you substitute teach online? The school only needs a substitute teacher when someone is on a leave of absence. After I accepted the position as a substitute art teacher, I attended intense training sessions where I learned how to access my classroom content, grade, conduct live lessons, and communicate with students. I was assigned a mentor to help me with such a large learning curve of technology and my new environment. For me, I have always been a “nerd” or “geek” and new technology is easy and fun for me to pick up. Throughout my position as a substitute teacher, it became apparent that teaching online might be something I am very good at.
This year I was offered and graciously accepted a position as a full time high school art teacher at the same large online charter school. I am experiencing my first year as a teacher in a way I never would have expected, but in a way that I love.
I am also working on receiving my Masters Degree in Art Education at OSU, and that’s where this blog comes in. I will be reflecting upon my year and telling my story of what it’s like to teach online. Please ask me any questions you’d like to know about my profession and you’ll be helping me reflect and write my masters project as well, a double wammy!


  1. So do you post videos or do you chat with them? Or is it none of the above? I'm so confused!

  2. I believe it's a combination. I'm presuming the "core" classes are done live while supplementary material is recorded or posted as a PDF. Although I could be wrong

  3. Thank you for the questions so far! I will be answering them as my blog continues :)
    Questions from Kate: Since art is so literally a hands-on discipline do you ever struggle to get certain points across to your students that - in a normal classroom - wouldn't be a problem?

    To me personally, art is about freedom of expression and creating things that are both personal and beautiful. Keeping this in mind, do you think your students have more freedom to express themselves without a teacher in the room looking over their shoulders? Conversely, do you think the students sometimes struggle more to bring their visions to life without hands-on instruction?