There's been a lot of stuff sort of simmering in our household this summer. However, I haven't felt like jinxing anything, so I've tried not to blog about things until I know they're actually happening. So unless I talk to you on a regular basis, it may come as a surprise to know that I got a new job! Starting this fall, I'm going to be teaching English online through Aventa Learning.
I actually applied for an online teaching position in late May or early June. I honestly don't remember if this is one of the online schools that I found through Craigslist (job posting) or if this is one of the schools I found by googling. Either way, I found the school and sent in my resume, and then I forgot about it until I got an email while I was in Colorado in early July. I had a phone interview on July 6th, and I thought it went really well. However, I didn't hear anything back until last Friday, when I got another email for a second phone interview. That interview took place on Monday, and it couldn't have gone better. We'd only been chatting for about 15 minutes when she let me know that, without even finishing the interview, she already knew she wanted to hire me. That was nice to hear. :)
I've already had a lot of questions about this job, so let me explain basically how it works. I'm not sure if this was just a conversation that teachers had, but do you remember probably 10 years ago when people started wondering if someday computers would replace teachers? There was talk that someday, everyone would just sit at home in front of their computer...the teacher would teach from home, and the students would watch on their monitor. Yeah...that's not how online teaching works, at least not usually. Instead, think of this as a sort of correspondence course entirely online. Students log on to a virtual classroom where they can see the syllabus. In any given unit, students will have some things that they need to do on their own (like reading a book or studying a website). They will also often need to submit homework assignments (like an essay or questions to answer); they will submit them by uploading them to the teacher's "inbox." Students may need to take a quiz or test, which they can do through the online virtual classroom. They can also be required to participate in an online "classroom" discussion, which takes place via message boards.
So where does the online teacher come in? I'm there to make sure the students are actively participating in the class. I'll be able to see how much time each student is spending "in" the virtual classroom. I'll also be available to answer students' questions via email or phone. And of course, I get to grade all their work and provide feedback on their assignments. If students are struggling to grasp the material, I can create and provide supplemental assignments to help them reach a better understanding.
I'm really excited about this opportunity. There are LOTS of reasons that a high school student might want to take an English class online, so this is an "industry" that is growing by leaps and bounds, and I'm getting in pretty much on the ground floor. Plus, I get to do the fun part of teaching (explaining things to students and providing feedback) without having to put up with a lot of the things that I dislike about teaching (like dealing with students who won't stop talking while I give instructions, or getting up before dawn to drive to work). And I can do it pretty much anywhere that will give me internet access! :)