A boy and a girl work together on a laptop

Amanda Shook

Amanda Shook

Amanda Shook is a special education teacher at Tennessee Connections Academy. She joined Tennessee Connections Academy in 2019 and has enjoyed the collaborative learning environment between teachers, students, and Learning Coaches. She has a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies and a master’s degree in special education K–12 from East Tennessee State University. Ms. Shook also has a master’s degree in elementary education K–6 from Milligan College. She shares her story below:

“As a young girl, I watched my two older brothers struggle in school with specific learning disabilities. My observation of their struggles, which included working late at night with my mother to help them, instilled an innate desire in me to become an educator. In my elementary and high school academic journey, I was keenly aware as I progressed in school that I, along with my peers, all had different ways of learning. As I got older, I realized that school was not as easy for me as it had been in the past. Fortunately, I was blessed with teachers who helped me find my avenue of learning and honed in on my learning styles. That innate desire that I possessed at an early age began to resurface as those teachers instilled within me a desire to learn, to challenge myself, and to explore.

As an educator, I want to foster the desire to learn for students, honor learning styles, challenge students to challenge themselves, and have students know that I believe in them and will never give up on them.

At Tennessee Connections Academy, our school leaders, teachers, and staff have worked diligently to provide a welcoming community for our dedicated parents/Learning Coaches by offering easy-to-use technology that allows everyone to communicate and collaborate for a positive learning experience. Leaders, teachers, and staff work together in professional learning communities and meet daily to discuss students’ needs and ways we can improve each student’s learning experience. Learning Coaches can easily communicate with teachers and staff via WebMail message or phone, or by meeting in the LiveLesson® classroom.

Flexibility is key to our learning experiences in the 21st century. Innovative online learning gives students the flexibility they need to complete their lessons from anywhere and at any time during the day, provided with an internet connection. I am amazed at the connections students make with their peers in the online learning environment.

Students and Learning Coaches have the opportunity to tailor their learning experience to fit their needs, unlike in a brick-and-mortar setting with time constraints. Our students are provided with a plethora of extracurricular activities, including clubs that aren’t always offered in the brick-and-mortar setting. The excellent online learning environment at Tennessee Connections Academy gives students convenience, accessibility, and greater flexibility. Students in our online school can have one-on-one sessions with teachers to ask questions to check for understanding, receive enrichment, and remediation.

I am honored every day to help students maximize their potential in their academic learning career by providing lessons that are rigorous and relevant, and by implementing real-world applications. I love how engaged the students are in our interactive LiveLessons classroom. I enjoy seeing them work collaboratively with their peers in our virtual breakout rooms.

I can say with great pride that I am honored to witness the 21st-century learning environment that our students are flourishing in and making strong connections from so many different geographical regions. It is a wonderful experience to see my students share the common goal of learning and form connections with students from other backgrounds.

Tennessee Connections Academy prepares students for a bright future by staffing exceptional teachers who are experts in content knowledge, compassionate, versatile, and willing to go the extra mile to help students. The curriculum is top notch. Our innovative learning environment challenges students to study, problem solve, build skills, and develop understanding so they can achieve at a higher level to be successful.”

My favorite part of the job is helping students find their learning style in a nurturing environment so that they become self-aware of their learning capabilities and challenge themselves to become successful in their academic career at Tennessee Connections Academy.
— Ms. Shook