Samantha Cook is a high school teacher at Washington Connections Academy (WACA). She began her teaching career in 2018 at WACA. She earned a bachelor’s degree in cinema studies and English from the University of Oregon and a master’s in education from Portland State University. She also completed postbaccalaureate work in history and special education at both schools. Ms. Cook shares more about her experience below:
“I have always been drawn to education. I originally wanted to be a college professor but was disappointed that my primary responsibility would be research instead of teaching. I teach high school because it is such a crucial stage of development. The students are so close to becoming adults, and I want to help prepare them for independence. I teach social studies because I am passionate about history and civics and want students to become well-informed adults who come prepared for civic engagement.
“I love that students have this opportunity to develop independence, time management skills, and self-advocacy. I love how passionate my fellow teachers are. They care about this school and give so much effort to students.
“In a bricks-and-mortar classroom, I could have 30 students in a 40–80 minute time period. If there were students who need extra help, I only had that time frame with them. With an online school, teachers are readily available throughout the day to all of our students.
“With Washington Connections Academy, students are prepared to advocate for themselves. They are prepared to schedule their own time and efficiently complete tasks. Students at Washington Connections Academy gain an ability to problem-solve and take the initiative to get something fixed or find a solution themselves.
“At Washington Connections Academy, parents have the opportunity to be involved and immersed in their child’s education, and teachers have more flexibility to give students the amount of support they need.”
When she is not teaching, Ms. Cook likes to go out and explore, go to the movies, and write about film. Otters and cats are her favorite animals. She has two cats, and sometimes they will say hi during LiveLesson® sessions!
I love that students have this opportunity to develop independence, time management skills, and self-advocacy.