The convenience of Illinois Virtual School allows for students to participate in many activities that they might not otherwise have the opportunity to pursue. Hockey players, musicians, dancers, and gymnasts have all taken IVS courses while pursuing their passions. Well, IVS allows for teachers to pursue exciting opportunities also!
Ron Chernobrov teaches American History, Consumer Economics, and Government for IVS. Currently, Mr. Chernobrov is also teaching for the United States Army in the Marshall Islands. The following is a guest blog post about his experiences:
Online education provides for the incredible ability to both learn and teach from anywhere in the world. I’ve been teaching social studies for IVS since 2013, but recently decided that I needed some adventure in my life. So after spending my entire professional career in Illinois, I took a one year contract teaching for the United States Army at a military base in the Marshall Islands. At this point, you’re probably asking… huh? Where?
Kwajalein is home to the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site, where the United States conducts all sorts of defense testing that I’m not privy to the details of. But plenty of kids live on the base as dependents of the military and contractor personnel on island… and they need an education! So a full K-12 school system exists on base, and I teach 7-12th grade at their middle/high school building.
Kwajalein Jr/Sr High School
When I took this position, I was worried about whether or not I would be able to continue my responsibilities with the Illinois Virtual School. But those worries proved to be unfounded, as the army has high speed internet available in all on-island housing. So it was actually a rather seamless transition — as I departed Chicago and flew out to Kwajalein, I was able to continue responding to my students, grading work, and posting assignments, all whilst traveling the globe. Better still, internet access worked on the very first day of my arrival, and so I experienced absolutely no down time with my online students.
It really has been an incredible experience because while the bulk of my students are in Illinois, I’m able to continue teaching my courses from 6,000 miles away, without any issues. In fact, I’d venture to say most of my students probably don’t even know that I’m so far away from them. I even kept a local Illinois phone number (hooray for cell phones) to keep in touch.
That’s the true magic of online education… the students and teachers don’t have to be in the same room, the same state, or even the same hemisphere. The only hangup I’ve run into is the seven hour time difference, but it’s actually worked out in my favor because I complete my work in two rounds – I do my heaviest grading and posting around 11 PM – midnight (my time) because I’ve always been a night anyway, and this translates to 7 AM in Illinois. Thus my students get my comments and feedback right at the start of their school day. I then respond to student questions via email during my lunch break, which corresponds to around 6-7 PM in Illinois, exactly when the kids will be finishing dinner and ready to tackle their homework.
I’m also getting to experience a tremendous amount of history whilst out here, as Kwajalein was the site of a WWII battle between US forces and the Japanese. So I’m looking forward to bringing my experiences here on Kwajalein into my online classroom for 2nd semester when I teach about World War II. I’ll get to show my students first hand pictures of actual Japanese bunkers and real battle sites… maybe even live video clips that wouldn’t be possible in any other circumstance but for our online classroom and my unique location.
Blown-Out Japanese Bunker
All in all, it’s been a great experience out here so far, and I love the chance to teach in a unique location and provide an important service for the children of those that serve our nation. I don’t know how long I’ll stay out here yet, but I intend to return to Illinois for winter and summer breaks, so my connection to “the mainland” will continue while I live out here in the central Pacific.
(Marshallese for hello and goodbye)
As you can see, the flexibility of Illinois Virtual School is not just a benefit for student, but teachers as well! If you’re a teacher and would like to work for IVS, then click HERE to learn about employment opportunities and how to get started.