Emily Maddock is a high school english teacher at Colorado Connections Academy. She earned a bachelor's degree at the University of Richmond and her master's degree in curriculum and instruction from Colorado Christian University. Ms. Maddock began teaching in 2012 and joined Colorado Connections Academy in 2015. She shares her teaching journey below.
"I became a teacher because school wasn't easy for me when I was in elementary and middle school. It wasn't until high school that I began to love learning and reading. The struggles I went through in school inspired me to be a teacher because I wanted to help students who are having a hard time, who are frustrated, or who just don't understand. I feel that because I had trouble in school, I can identify and understand my students' struggles as if they were my own.
I live for that moment when a student has the "eureka" breakthrough and I can see that moment of comprehension on their face. It's like their whole world has just lit up! Or when a student tells me at the beginning of the year that they hate English, but by the end of the year, they love what we are learning! Maybe it's selfish gratification, but I love watching students grow. It's those things that make me want to be a teacher and makes me love my job each and every day.
I love teaching at Colorado Connections Academy because I get to know my students and their families much more than I did at a traditional brick-and-mortar school. I can call them on the phone, talk about what's going on in our class, and chat about their life outside of school. I get to build on these relationships when I meet them on field trips and they see I'm a real person. Our student–teacher bond doesn't stop when the class ends. I get to know each of my students and help them inside and outside of the virtual classroom.
In traditional brick-and-mortar schools, I spent almost a third of the class time dealing with classroom management issues or other "housekeeping" tasks. With Colorado Connections Academy's online learning environment, every moment in our LiveLesson® sessions is focused on learning. When I have one-on-one discussions with a student, I can concentrate on giving my student the individual attention, help, and support they need with no distractions.
Our school truly creates a welcoming environment, and it's awesome the way our students and families respond to it! We don't have formal parent–teacher conferences because we maintain consistent communication with our families. We have numerous field trips each month for students to meet their classmates, explore interesting locations, and talk with their teachers. Students learn self-motivation, valuable technology skills, and time management skills. In the 21st-century college environment and workforce, having simple technology skills is a must. Our school helps students learn these skills and prepares them for a bright and successful future.
If there was one thing I would tell prospective parents, it's to enroll your student early. Students who start on the first day of school are less stressed than those who enroll late. Enrolling on time will give them plenty of time to complete their orientations, ask questions, and introduce themselves to their teachers before the year begins."
In her free time, Ms. Maddock likes to read books that her students suggest, which tend to be a lot of young adult fiction and fantasy books, and then get together with her students to discuss them.
I love teaching at Colorado Connections Academy because I get to know my students and their families much more than I did at a traditional brick-and-mortar school.