Sally Schwade is a high school English teacher at Great Lakes Cyber Academy (GLCA). She has been teaching at GLCA since 2013. Ms. Schwade holds a bachelor’s degree in English and a secondary teaching certificate from Siena Heights University.
“When I first decided to become a teacher, I never even imagined that someday I’d be teaching at an online high school. At first, the idea seemed strange. How could a teacher teach without seeing her students every day? The reason I became a teacher was so I could interact with young adults and guide them to a greater understanding of themselves and the world through reading and writing. How could I be effective if I wasn’t even in the same room as my students? I was very curious about how online school worked. I decided to give it a shot.
When I came for my interview and met the principal, I began to realize that online school might not be as strange as I first thought. Ms. Ballien had been a principal at another online school and seemed very confident that GLCA would be a great fit for many students. As I reflected back on my experience working directly with young adults who had struggled with school, I remembered that I had always thought that there must another way. Couldn’t there be an option for students that put the whole classroom within their reach—removing barriers to student learning?
I thought of the many students who had made an impact on me and decided that dedicating myself to GLCA was the right decision. It did not take long for me to acclimate to teaching students in the virtual classroom. There are many benefits for students in a virtual classroom. Students most routinely comment on the fact that the teacher is available to work one-on-one with them. GLCA students also say that it is nice not having to deal with the distractions of other students in the school. And, of course, not having to set an alarm is pretty sweet, too.”
Great Lakes Cyber Academy fulfills the vision I’d had a long time ago—of a high school that guides a student to greater achievement, with the student leading the way.