Teacher Spotlight: Kelly Hopson Thinks Outside the Classroom
Four walls can’t contain Kelly Hopson’s love of teaching. When she started to notice the needs of her students weren't being met within the traditional classroom, she searched for alternatives. That’s when she found Laurel Springs. Here she explains her deep desire for making a difference and how online school helps her and her students succeed.
Thinking Outside the Room
In over 12 years of teaching, Kelly has experience in brick-and-mortar school, online school, and homeschool. With a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education and special education specialization, she knows what it takes for students to succeed and strives to help make it happen.
“I began to see that the physical four walls of a classroom didn't meet the needs of ALL children, and some of them needed a different learning environment and tools to succeed. I felt a huge pull towards virtual learning and began researching virtual private schools that met social and emotional needs as well as offering rigorous curriculum, with freedom and flexibility in a schedule, from grades K-12. I was ecstatic to find Laurel Springs School online and dove head first into the website to learn all I could about their mission, vision and learning model. I instantly fell in love with this school...They were exactly what I envisioned for my students and I knew this was who I wanted to teach for and the students I was called to teach, love and serve.”
So now, when she’s not reading, traveling, or spinning on her Peloton, she’s dedicated to guiding kindergarteners and first graders through their educational journey online.
Flexibility, Freedom, and Family
While there’s a lot to love about teaching online, Kelly has narrowed it down to two big bonuses. “The best part of teaching online is the flexibility and freedom it offers to my students as well as my family. Our family loves to travel and spend quality time together, so I love that I can teach from anywhere. Family is so important and we just don’t get these years back with our children. So, I love that the LSS curriculum and program gives my students and their family this same freedom to be together and spend time as a family while earning an amazing education.”
Okay, she really couldn’t narrow it down to just two benefits. “I love that I am able to see students grow in academics as well as emotionally and physically. One would think that learning online there would be a lack of engagement and connection between a student and teacher, but that is absolutely not the case. I have a true love for my students and love hearing them read to me within the Learning Management System, see their videos, and connect with them through email and assignment feedback. We all get to know each other so well, you would never know we haven't been in the four walls of a classroom together.”
Speaking of engagement, Kelly also couldn’t narrow down all the ways she connects with her students. In addition to personalized feedback on assignments, Kelly gets creative with audio and video clips, sending virtual stickers and bitmojis, and a weekly emailed newsletter. “I also love to meet with students in my virtual classroom face-to-face and over the phone. We build a real connection through each of these avenues.”
Sustaining a Supportive Environment
It’s clear to see how much Kelly cares about her students and her work. While it’s every teacher’s mission to see their class succeed, Kelly goes the extra mile to make the most of an education experience. “I like to send students resources on their schedule and plan their day and also do check-in’s to see how things are progressing for them. I love making book recommendations based on their interests and watching students find a passion for reading based on their interests. I'm available everyday in our virtual classroom for questions and support for the students and parents.”
Kelly plans on continuing down this virtual path for the rest of her teaching career. “This model of teaching and learning is revolutionary and our families are truly getting an amazing educational experience for the kids. I love seeing our students thrive in a program that works well for them so they may be the best version of themselves. This is truly where I am meant to be teaching and the families I am meant to be with. I can’t wait to watch all our LSS students continue to SOAR.”
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