A Word From The Teachers – Part 2 of 3
Flex ED offers a unique education alternative that embraces a “school without walls” approach to learning. The program is flexible to meet the growing needs of students and their families in the greater global community. Flex ED’s empowerment model for teaching and learning is on the cutting edge of educational trends, upholding the philosophy that school occurs wherever learning takes place. Through technology, social media and teacher support, students learn and grow in a safe, supportive online environment. Flex ED provides the complete Saskatchewan curriculum of education, supervised and marked by a Saskatchewan certified teacher.
Editor’s Note: Flex ED is such a great program, in part, because of the phenomenal teachers who stand behind it. That’s why we’ve created a three-part series to help you get to know the instructors at Flex ED. You’ll meet Christina MacPherson and Lisa Hennessey, and get their take on teacher-student relationships and life with Flex ED.
Part 2: Here, Christina MacPherson shares some favorite student success stories and her perspective on virtual learning.
What is one of your favorite student success stories?
MacPherson: One of my best stories was from last year. I had a student who was extremely shy and had anxiety. At the beginning of the year, he wouldn’t communicate with me online, so I had to work with his mom so he could ask me questions through her. As we got further into the year, he got to where he would turn his camera on, just to say hello, and then turn the camera off again. He did the same thing during a group presentation—he introduced himself to everyone and then turned his camera off. When another student presented on Minecraft, however, he immediately engaged, and before I knew it, these two students were talking about Minecraft, like they had known each other for years. There were eight other kids present, too, but none of them knew how huge it was for this boy to converse and connect with someone else.
I think about him quite often when I have kids with social anxiety. I know they can work through it little by little.
What are the student-teacher relationships like?
MacPherson: It’s really interesting how quickly you get to know your students, their likes and dislikes, and what they’re going through. So many of our students are very smart and articulate. Because of this, they don’t have issues emailing or calling me, or sharing things with me. One student this year has already told me a lot about his family. As he continues to write more for me, I continue to learn more about his family life. This definitely strengthens the student-teacher relationship.
Connections with families are strong, too. I have a family who has been with me since I began at Flex ED, and I recently spoke to the mom. Her family was going out to the lake, and she invited me to join them. I think it’s the element of trust that makes the difference. Families know that I have their children’s best interests at heart when I’m correcting them or giving feedback. They know I’m accessible and supportive.
What’s a misconception you’ve come across with regard to online learning?
MacPherson: I think there’s a misconception that students who learn at home are isolated. That’s not the case. Students have to be able to work independently, yes, but they’re not isolated.
In a traditional classroom, a student might raise her hand to ask a question—along with ten other students—and hear “Yes, I’ll get to you.” But that teacher may never have the time to. In my Flex ED “classroom,” students email me their questions and get responses very quickly. I even have students who phone me for help.
I think that’s one of the benefits of this program. Students can get individual help and more importantly, feel comfortable asking for it.
What do you say to parents who question if online learning is right for them?
MacPherson: Online learning is not for everyone. I’m the first to admit that. I do think, however, that it’s a great option for a lot of students, like those who are involved in many activities and need to manage their schoolwork around those activities. A girl I taught last year was heavily involved in music and in drama. With our program, she was able to do it all—complete her lessons and dedicate herself to her activities.
My advice is to be open-minded. This isn’t a traditional school with a traditional school environment, but an alternative that offers a great deal of support and a highly adaptive program. Our students learn in a manner that suits their needs and the needs of their families.
Flex ED is here, and that’s what people need to know. It’s a viable alternative. Look into it. Research it. Ask questions. Just don’t overlook it.
About Flex ED
Flex ED offers a unique education alternative that embraces a “school without walls” approach to learning. The program is flexible to meet the growing needs of students and their families in the greater global community. Flex ED’s empowerment model for teaching and learning is on the cutting edge of educational trends, upholding the philosophy that school occurs wherever learning takes place. Through technology, social media, and teacher support, students learn and grow in a safe, supportive online environment.
Flex ED provides the complete Saskatchewan curriculum of education, supervised and marked by a Saskatchewan certified teacher.
Whether students are looking for an online school or need help supplementing a homeschool curriculum, Flex ED can help to facilitate those needs. Learn more at: https://www.flexed.ca.