American psychologist Abraham Maslow once contended that humans are confronted with two options in any given moment: stepping forward into growth or stepping back into safety. Laurel Springs Elementary Teacher Caitlin Byers made a conscious decision to put Maslow’s words into definitive action by taking a path less taken to where she fits in.
After spending time as a preschool teacher in Missoula, Montana, the University of Montana graduate found that, like Laurel Springs students, her life did not translate to a traditional brick-and-mortar environment.
“The daily events of my life can’t be contained to one setting,” Ms. Byers says.
What that means for Ms. Byers is spending quiet early morning hours answering emails, tracking student progress, and grading assignments before helping her own children get off to a positive start to their day, whether at school or home. Once settled, she can get back to her work routine or engage in previously scheduled commitments.
Or, thanks to The Treasure State’s natural beauty and varied climate, the flexibility of the online learning model allows her family to enjoy the seasonal adventures together. “Working online allows me to actually live and prioritize our family values,” she says.
This logic is sure to resonate with the families of Laurel Springs that require an educational option that is more accommodating than what many brick-and-mortar schools can provide.
“I have students who are elite athletes, sail around the world with their families, act, sing, dance, or are involved in the most amazing community service projects,” she says. “I would never be able to meet so many unique students from around the world in a traditional school setting.”
Ms. Byers is quick to praise the freedoms Laurel Springs affords, and doesn’t hesitant to note the opportunity this type of education presents. Additionally, she acknowledges the dedication a student must devote to ensuring his or her success by remaining organized in regards to time and commitments. The benefits are realized as students feel empowered having gained resounding confidence in their education and in themselves.
According to Ms. Byers, these steps help students “walk away having gained not only academic growth and knowledge, but also the personal growth necessary for whole-person development.”
Or in other words, these students find out where they fit.