In the month of October we hope to complete a 2 part upgrade to the IVS site. We will be upgrading the learning Environment for full service courses to the latest version of the Brightspace by D2L platform (https://d2l.ilvirtual.org), and our Informational site (http://ILVirtual.org) will be enhanced with improved navigation and portals for all of our users. Please watch the calendar on the dashboard for important information about site availability as we perform these upgrades. We will attempt to work during weekend and non-peak hours to minimize disruptions.
In 1995, I graduated from Eastern Illinois University with a bachelor’s degree in English. Then I earned a master’s degree in Educational Psychology from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. A year later, I became a National Board Certified Teacher after successfully completing the National Board Professional Teaching Standards assessments. More recently, I finished more graduate courses to become certified to teach college-level English Language Arts courses.
In addition to teaching English for Illinois Virtual School (since 2001), I teach English (freshmen through dual-credit seniors) at Teutopolis High School, where I also serve as a class sponsor, a student council advisor, and the Writing Club sponsor.
When I am not grading papers, developing curriculum, or meeting with students, I like to spend time with my family—camping, hiking, and walking; cheering on my four children at their various sporting and extra-curricular events; watching football with my family on Sunday afternoons; singing in a band with my dad; catching up with my friends on Facebook; and reading by the fireplace on a cold winter day (although I’m not a big fan of Illinois winters).
My husband Patrick and I have been married for 21 years. Brady, our oldest child, is in 10th grade; Madison is in 5th grade; Regina (Ina) is in 2nd grade; and Regino (Ino) is in 1st grade.
I started with IVS the first semester in January, 2001 (when we were IVHS because we only offered high school courses). I love teaching mathematics and I love technology so teaching online courses seemed like the perfect blend. I was still teaching in the traditional classroom as well. It was interesting how the two jobs enhanced each other. I brought the best of my face-to-face teaching ideals to my online classroom and the best of my online classroom to my face-to-face class…call it early blended learning…very early since I had not even heard the term at that time.
15 years later and 10 years retired from my traditional classroom, I am still learning and still growing. One of the greatest surprises that came out of my experience was the rapport that develops between the online teacher and student. I went into the venture believing that building a teacher-student relationship would be a long stretch. I soon found that the attachments are at least as strong as those in the f2f classroom. I think the relative anonymity allows students to attend class with no preconceived notions as to who they are, how they will achieve…a new beginning, if you will. Maybe teachers do, also. My teaching practices online vary greatly from those I held near and dear in the traditional environment. I can be a different kind of teacher to different kinds of students…not every single one has to fit into the mold. They all have the same end requirements, but how I encourage them to get to the end can vary where in my traditional classroom, my greatest goal was to be sure everyone was treated the same, same rules, same expectations, nearly the same lessons (though I did a lot of individualized tutoring before and after school). Diversity? Let me tell you…I have taught students who were Olympic contenders who were practicing out of state but didn’t want to fall behind in their classes, musicians who were traveling to perform (Carnegie Hall!!) and needed flexibility in scheduling, students whose parents were transferred to another country for a few months or years, students who are ill and unable to come into school (some of my heroes are students who are too ill to attend and still work diligently in the course), different nationalities, different economic backgrounds…and yet they build a learning community with each other…they find the common ground.
I have been teaching for 40+ year and have seen a lot of trends come and go. Never have I witnessed a greater impact than online education (such as IVS) offers to our students and our schools. My courses are rich with content and user friendly. Students have as much assistance as they are willing to request. Time schedules are tailored to fit their needs (outside of start and end dates…and even then they have 14 start dates from which to choose), a wealth of supplementary material a keystroke away.
Illinois Virtual School has impacted a lot of students over years, but no student has been impacted more than I have as an educator!