By Mary Hancock
An online teacher speaks out.
When the Chino Champion published the editorial “Don’t teachers count anymore?” — a newspaper piece critical of online learning, which referred to online teachers as “robots” — it offended Mary Hancock, an Association of Chino Teachers member and online teacher at the Alternative Education Center in Chino Valley Unified School District. Excerpts of her response in a follow-up editorial are below.
Yes, there are virtual classrooms at the Alternative Education Center; however, they are far from empty. In each classroom can be found a highly educated and compassionate teacher working directly with students, mentoring them through any difficulties students may have with the curriculum and motivating them to be successful. Teachers spend long hours responding to their students’ e-mails, calling parents and students, grading assignments, and giving their students feedback on their work.
Virtual teaching is far from robotic; it is about making connections. Virtual teachers find that they actually get to know their students far better than they did in a traditional classroom of 35; they give their students one-on-one instruction.
Virtual learning is far from sterile — it is active and innovative. Virtual learning allows for all types of students to be successful, from a basic student to those who are advanced. If a certain lesson triggers a more in-depth question for the student, the lesson has several links to allow the student to actively explore and learn. If a student is having trouble understanding a concept, they can reread, review and redo the activities as many times as they need until they understand, or they send an e-mail to their teacher for more instruction.
I am anything but a robot. I am a living, passionate and motivating teacher who loves inspiring my students to explore the possibilities that our virtual education can provide.