Headshot of Ms. Hannah

Erica Hannah

High School Teacher

Bachelor’s Degree, English Writing, University of Pittsburgh; Master’s Degree, Secondary Education

Erica Hannah joined Great River Connections Academy in 2019, where she teaches English to students in eleventh grade. Ms. Hannah is also a novelist whose first book, It Used to Be Us: You cannot believe everything you see, was published in 2023.

Ms. Hannah’s Background

When Erica Hannah was a young girl at her grandmother’s house, she would write short stories and give them to friends and family members. Says Ms. Hannah, “Being an author is something I’d always wanted to do. Unfortunately, time started to pass, and life started to get in the way.”

Soon after marrying and starting a family, she went back to school for her master’s degree, taught at an online school and a college, then started teaching at Great River Connections Academy. Ms. Hannah enjoys teaching in a virtual classroom because it enables her to work on a more individual level with students in an environment where they feel safe and don’t have distractions. 

“In an online classroom, we can focus on what the students are learning and meet them where they are academically,” Ms. Hannah said. “In a brick-and-mortar school, the teacher not only has to teach, they have to monitor behaviors and what else might be happening in the classroom.” 

The Online School Experience at Great River Connections Academy

According to Ms. Hannah, teaching online gives her the opportunity to use various online resources and technologies to keep students engaged. She said she often uses different programs and applications to give students immediate feedback and build a sense of inclusion. 

Says Ms. Hannah, “Obviously an online classroom is pretty innovative. There are still times when students try to hide in the background. These tools make the classroom more interactive because we can directly engage students in the process.” 

One online application Ms. Hannah uses allows her to work individually with students, collaborate in real time on their writing projects, and give them input and direction. This is one way she establishes relationships with her students and creates positive learning experiences. 

Through this more-individualized learning, Ms. Hannah believes she understands her students, their interests, and their concerns — which has helped make her dream of writing a novel a reality.  

"In an online classroom, we can focus on what the students are learning and meet them where they are academically."

—   Ms. Hannah

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