Ms. Graham is the newest English language learner (ELL) and language arts teacher at INSPIRE, the Idaho Connections Academy. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature from The College of Idaho and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Boise State University. Ms. Graham shares her story below.
“I first knew I wanted to be a teacher at about age 8, when my piano teacher, Kathryn Mitchell, told my mother that I would make a good teacher. When I was a senior at the College of Idaho finishing an English literature degree, a job as an English teacher in Japan became available, and I snapped it up with only an educational psychology class and an English as a second language (ESL) teaching class under my belt—the sink or swim method! Four years as a teacher convinced me of two things: I loved teaching, and I needed more teacher training! So back in Boise, I entered and completed the master’s degree in education program at BSU and picked up my husband, Paul, along the way.
I chose INSPIRE because it’s a great fit for me. At an online school, I can focus my attention on interacting with students using an established curriculum. I enjoy using technology to track development, and there is so much data available at my fingertips. As an online teacher, I can help students develop their own learning plans. I have much more contact with the student’s parents and can work with them as partners in their student’s education. I also enjoy the team environment. In a bricks-and-mortar school, when the door closes, teachers are typically alone in the classroom. I never feel like I am alone in my LiveLesson® sessions. While I am teaching, I can instant message other teachers to find out information, and I also can hear other teachers delivering their lessons.
I would tell a parent who is considering online school that he or she needs to visualize a typical classroom. When a teacher walks out of a classroom, what can happen? Students might work on their own, but often they relax and lose focus, and sometimes exhibit poor behavior towards other students. Imagine a classroom with one student, and then the teacher leaves the student alone…all day! How long do you think the student would remain on task? The most important thing that parents needs to understand is that their involvement in their student’s education day – and even just their presence – can influence how successful he or she will be. Parents need to understand that once they enroll in Connections Academy, it’s important they’re available throughout the school day to help the student.”
Ms. Graham’s favorite season is summer in Idaho! She loves the wide, bright blue skies in the day and crisp air at night.
As an online teacher, I can help students develop their own learning plans. I have much more contact with the student’s parents and can work with them as partners in their student’s education.