Teacher Spotlight: Rachael Wozniak on Finding the Right Fit
As a scrapbooker, soccer mom, and weekly movie night supervisor, Rachael Wozniak has created a home life that's full of family and fun. As a teacher for almost two decades, her work life has given her opportunities in grades 2-8 in both public and private online and brick-and-mortar schools. Rachael was kind enough to take a break from both her home and work life to share some of her experiences with us and how she found the right work/life fit.
A Little Research Goes a Long Way
Rachael learned about Laurel Springs while researching online school offerings for her own children. Little did she know it would soon offer something for her entire family. “I was so impressed with the longevity of the school that I began to look into it further and eventually applied for a teaching position!”
She’s been teaching online now since 2015. While she started at Laurel Springs teaching grade 4, she’s since “graduated to middle school.” Currently, she’s guiding students in grades 6-8 with a focus on English, Ancient Civilizations, and Health/P.E.
Flexibility and Engagement for All
While there are many benefits of teaching online, one of the highlights for Rachael is the flexibility it offers her, her family, and the families of the students she teaches. “I have been able to work from home while raising my children. I have twins that are 9, a 7-year-old, and 5-year-old. So, while they are still young, it is truly a blessing to be able to be home with them.”
Even though she interacts with students through a screen, Rachael is grateful for the various ways she has of keeping everyone engaged. From optional iClasses to daily virtual office hours, the goal is to help make sure her students feel supported. “I really love getting to know [the students and families] personally and being able to tailor their educational experience.” She tailors these experiences throughout the year, but finds it’s especially important in the very beginning. “Engagement can be tricky when teaching or learning online. One way that I engage my students is right away in the beginning of the year, I try to meet with my students in my virtual office. This meeting is informal and basically just to say hello!”
Another way Rachael keeps her students engaged is through timely, personalized feedback. “I will ask questions to get them to think a bit deeper or provide guidance for that particular assignment.” Feedback is crucial throughout the learning process, from understanding the assignments to grading the final project. “Most of the emails or phone calls are questions about particular assignments, so providing answers and resources for them is another way I help my students and their families.”
Finding Where You Fit
Switching to an online school is not only an adjustment for students and their families, but also for teachers. While Rachael has experienced both methods of teaching, she believes she’s found the right fit at Laurel Springs--especially in the current educational climate. “I am so appreciative and in awe of those brick-and-mortar teachers who have taken up the challenge and are reaching their students in spite of COVID-19. I truly believe that LSS is the perfect place for me!”
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