Amy O’Leary is a middle and high school science teacher at Washington Connections Academy (WACA). She began teaching in 2000 and joined WACA in 2018. She received her bachelor’s degree in biology and education from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in art of teaching from Marygrove College. She shares more about her history and experience below:
“I became a teacher because I love working with teenagers. They are an age group that I find joy in helping and getting to know. I like seeing them learn and become empowered young adults who go on to do amazing things with their lives.
I was a high school science teacher in a brick-and-mortar school for nine years in Michigan and was an online tutor for six years. I love teaching at WACA because of the flexibility of the day and the work–life balance it allows. The staff is amazing, and I like feeling that I can help and reach students who struggled in a traditional school setting. Online school helps those students who struggle or feel overwhelmed with the larger brick-and-mortar setting deal with anxiety, special needs, and social issues. It's wonderful that there is an option for them to learn that didn't exist even a decade or two ago.
At WACA, students are still getting a Washington State–approved education and a diploma. I think learning virtually and becoming adept at working and learning on computers gives our students an advantage in the workforce and the real world. Students can still interact with each other and with their teachers, but they can learn at their own pace in a flexible way. They can work at their own pace and become more independent with their learning.
I am a wife and a mom, so I spend much of my time with my children and their activities. I love to run, work out, read, hike, camp, backpack, and travel.”
I think learning virtually and becoming adept at working and learning on computers gives our students an advantage in the workforce and the real world.