Elise Hatton is a high school teacher at Utah Connections Academy (UCA). She started teaching in 2001 and joined UCA in 2013. She earned her bachelor’s degree in biological science–composite teaching with endorsements to teach integrated and physical science from Utah State University. She shares her experience below:
“I became a teacher because I wanted a job where I could do a little bit of everything. Teaching allows me to do that! I chose to teach science because in science you also get to know a little bit of everything. I love the flexibility of teaching at a virtual school. The team of educators I work with are talented and professional. I also get to have individual conversations and small group lessons with all of my students on a regular basis.
An online school allows for a work–life balance that is unavailable for many teachers in a traditional school. There is time built into my day for providing timely feedback and working with my students. I don’t have to bring piles of papers home each day, and students don’t have to wait for a study hour to ask for help. They can reach out at any time during the day and get one-on-one help from their content teacher. I still get to enjoy fun field trips and school events that I loved in a brick-and-mortar setting, but I also get to know my families and students extremely well as we communicate regularly throughout the school year.
If you’re considering enrolling your child in UCA, be prepared to take on new roles as an active participant in your student’s learning. There is no passive learning in the online environment. Students can’t just show up to class and not pay attention. They are active learners in each lesson they complete, and they need the full support of their Learning Coach, teachers, and UCA staff in order to be successful.”
When she’s not teaching, Ms. Hatton enjoys going for walks/hikes, baking, gardening, and reading.
Students at UCA learn how to be leaders of their own learning. They have an ownership of their education they cannot find in other settings.