Lauren Denton is a secondary math teacher at Arkansas Connections Academy. Ms. Denton joined Arkansas Connections Academy in 2018 but has been teaching since 2014. She graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a degree in secondary math education. She shares her story below:
“I started college in engineering but became a teacher because I saw a lot of people hit obstacles in their classes because of distant and ineffective teachers. Math and subjects that rely on math can be difficult, and that requires more effort on the teacher’s part to engage the students and be an effective guide through the numerical wilderness. I switched to teaching classes and learned about proper methods to teach.
Arkansas Connections Academy is a great place for student–teacher interaction. I can focus solely on what students need help with and have a greater range of communication with students and their families. Students are more likely to ask for help in an online class than in the standard school classroom, and that means I can better address their learning needs.
This kind of learning environment and school structure helps students develop time management and a sense of responsibility that is often lacking in traditional schools. Students aren’t held to a formal schedule of coming to my room and doing what I assign to them every day. They have to set their own pace and be responsible for doing work and asking for help when they need it. This fits with what they will see in college and in the workforce in their future.
In my free time I build computers, play games, and watch entirely too many movies. I’m deeply engaged in pop culture and tend to reference it and other nerdy things while doing math with my students. Outside of work and hobbies, I’ve been trying to get more involved in my community and enjoying living in my hometown again after so long away.”
The level of interaction and attention to students is what makes this school community work and sets it apart.