Today on the blog I’m answering the most common questions I receive about my job as a virtual teacher. Have a question I didn’t answer? Let me know in the comments!
How often do you teach?
I teach every Tuesday/Thursday morning from 9:00-11:15. That time is broken up into two, one-hour live lessons. From 9:00-10:00 we have our language arts and social studies lessons. Then the students have a 15-minute break and from 10:15-11:15 we do our math, science, and technology lessons.
If you only teach on Tuesday/Thursday, what are you doing the other days?
We have faculty meetings, grade level meetings, PLC meetings, etc. (just like a brick-and-mortar teacher does). We are also prepping slides and activities for our live lessons, grading student work and providing feedback to our families, meeting with/tutoring students, and calling our families. We spend a lot of time on the phone with our families to support them with our curriculum and discuss student progress.
Do you like teaching virtually better than you did in brick-and-mortar?
I do! I love the flexibility that virtual school provides my families and me. I don’t think education should be “one size fits all” kind of thing and our families have the freedom to make this work best for them and their kids. I also have flexibility as a mom; I am able to volunteer in my daughter’s class one hour a week and attend most of my kids’ special events at school.
Are you always working from home or do you have a physical building you have to report to as well?
I am always working from home. However, a few times a year, all FLVS teachers get together in the physical world. We meet as an elementary team for 2 days in the summer for professional development and we meet as a whole organization (all FLVS staff) every Fall for 3 days in Orlando. We also have 2 field trips each school year where we can be with our students and families.
How many students do you have?
I currently have 35 kids that are registered home school students. I also support 14 lab students – these are students who attend a brick-and-mortar school and their school has enrolled them in FLVS courses. These students work with their teacher to navigate the FLVS courses and I am there to support the teacher. Not every teacher has lab kids, there are typically just a couple on each grade level.
Do you still get the same salary/benefits as you did in brick-and-mortar?
Yes, I receive the same benefits and retirement that I did when I taught for the public school district I live in. I am a 12-month employee for FLVS, so I make more than I did in brick-and-mortar. We also have 10-month employees and their pay is comparable to the local school district.
How does your evaluation work?
It works the same way it does in a brick-and-mortar school, except my principal cannot physically walk into my classroom. However, she is able to come to a live lesson and be in my virtual classroom for observation purposes. We also record all of our lessons, so sometimes she views a recording for evaluations if necessary. We are rated on the same rubric that local public school teachers are.
How can you possibly teach kindergarten on a COMPUTER?
Even though we are virtual, we still read, dance, sing, do centers…. you name it. Everything that happens in a physical kindergarten classroom happens in my virtual classroom (except maybe for things like tying shoes and passing out hand sanitizer). Click here for a post that goes into more detail about this if you’re interested.
Why do your families prefer virtual school over a brick-and-mortar school?
Our families come to FLVS for a variety of reasons. Some students have health or developmental issues that make a traditional school setting challenging. Some families just want to home school and come to us for the curriculum. Some students are musicians, athletes, or actors and need the flexibility of virtual school in order to pursue their passions. The common denominator seems to be flexibility. Our families want the flexibility to make school fit for their child, not the other way around.
Did you teach in a brick-and-mortar before this? Do you have to be a certified teacher?
Yes, I taught in brick-and-mortar before coming to FLVS. The position requires a teaching certificate and at least 3 years of teaching experience. I am currently in my 11th school year as a teacher and my 3rd school year as a virtual teacher.