A question I get a lot since I began teaching with Florida Virtual School is, “How did you get into that?” People are very intrigued by the idea of teaching virtually, especially teaching kindergarten virtually. In fact, when I excitedly called my mom after getting the job offer from FLVS, my mom said, “KINDERGARTEN? VIRTUALLY? HOW are you going to do that?!” My response: “I don’t know, but I’m going to figure it out!” To be honest, I had been applying for jobs with FLVS since having my daughter in 2013, so I would’ve said yes to ANYTHING they offered me.
What made me so interested in teaching virtually? I was always fascinated by the use of technology in education. I was actually the “technology model teacher” for my brick-and-mortar school. This meant I had a technology cart with various gadgets and the only smart board in the school. I got to go to different workshops on integrating technology in my classroom and I was also required to have an “open door policy” if teachers wanted to come check out how I was implementing my new learning in my lessons. I entered education at an interesting time… I can remember when document cameras started to be divvied out and there weren’t enough for every teacher. My first classroom had a TV in it (the kind that used to be rolled in on carts by substitute teachers to show a Bill Nye episode on VHS). In this first classroom I also had to string extension cords carefully using command hooks and duct tape to set up my new technology.
But anyway, this idea of teaching virtually was right up my alley.
In 2013 when I first started looking into FLVS, they did not have an elementary program. My degree is in Elementary Education, but that didn’t stop me from applying for anything and everything I thought I could possibly teach. Drivers Ed, Parenting Skills, you name it… I applied for it. I obviously did not get a phone call about any of those applications, but sending in my resume over and over actually worked in my favor. When they started their elementary program, I got a phone call asking if I’d be interested in interviewing (for something I was actually certified to teach). OF COURSE I was interested and the rest is history.
I had a very smooth transition into teaching virtually. Many teachers go straight from their brick-and-mortar classroom to their home office, but my path was a little different. When I had my daughter, I decided to take a break from teaching and stay home with her. To make ends meet, I tutored in the evenings when my husband would get home from work. I mostly tutored high school students for the verbal sections of ACT and SAT. This worked great because I got to be with my daughter during the day, but still contribute financially. I enjoyed tutoring and this schedule, but I kept my eye on FLVS and applied for many jobs (as I said) during this time. After 3 years of this work, I was ready for something more and the timing of the call from FLVS could not have been better.
What made my transition easier than most is I didn’t have a physical classroom to clean out (I had already done that). I didn’t have a class to say goodbye to. I was ALL IN for this new adventure. As I am halfway through the 2018-2019 school year (my tenth school year as a teacher, my third as a virtual one), I have to say I have never been happier. I have since had another child and only took 3 weeks of maternity leave when he was born! This job has been such an amazing opportunity for me and my family and I still get to be a teacher and build relationships with awesome students and families.
(*Check out my post here if you want to read more about how this virtual kindergarten thing works*)