Jessie Rohrig started teaching in 2005 and joined Willamette Connections Academy in 2020. She teaches science (plus health and physical education) to students in grades 6–8. Jessie also acts as the school’s field trip coordinator.
Why I Became a Teacher
For me, teaching is all about altruism. I read about the state of the world and misuse of natural resources, both physical and social, and thought “Why isn’t anyone working to fix this?!” Then I realized I can’t complain if I’m not willing to work to make the world a better place.
Science has been a passion all my life, as well as caring for wild places. I teach to widen the lens for kids and help them realize that they can make a difference—that they can make an impact in the world around them whatever their skills.
One thing I especially love about teaching at Willamette Connections Academy is being able to continuously refine my teaching skills. I have much more time to collaborate with colleagues on solutions for struggling students and to celebrate students who are successful.
The Online School Experience at Willamette Connection Academy
My students get to work relatively independently most of the time, using video and guided notes to support their learning. When I work with a student one-on-one, I get to dedicate my full attention to them.
I taught in a brick-and-mortar school for 17 years and found that kids were often overwhelmed by the chaos of the environment. There were over 800 students in the building and often over 30 students per class. This model was overwhelming for students who found it hard to focus on their schoolwork and get the individual attention they need.
“Students here get to set up their learning environment so it works best for them individually, and their teachers are always available, ready to back them up.”
— Ms. Rohrig
Message for Prospective Families Choosing Online School
The online school format works well for some kids, but not all. Students who thrive here were often overwhelmed by the chaos of their brick-and-mortar school. They enjoy the flexibility and focus of an online program. The more students engage with their teachers, the better the experience. It’s important to get to know your teachers and reach out if you need help.
Learning online allows students to practice the skills of time management, organization, persistence, flexibility, planning, self-advocacy, and prioritization. These are all skills required to be a successful human playing in the game of life.
One thing I often tell my students is that life is a team-based game, and many of them play like it’s a single-player game. Getting help from your parents, teachers, coaches, or siblings is essential, and I love that I can provide focused help for my students.
My Personal Interests
I love the outdoors, especially kayaking, and I also volunteer for Willamette Riverkeeper, which helps care for the Willamette and its tributaries. I’m on the group’s Board of Directors. I also enjoy art projects such as cross-stitch and watercolor, as well as playing the ukulele. I love to read; my favorite genre is popular science, which is non-fiction. I live in the Portland area with my husband and spend a great deal of time with my family that lives nearby.