This week’s Illinois Virtual School Teacher Spotlight is Brenda Elvers. Brenda teaches Civics and Intro to Sociology at IVS. She attended Ball State University and The University of Illinois at Springfield. Brenda’s hobbies include: exercising, spending time with her family, hiking, and watching her sons play baseball. Brenda is a wife, mom, teacher, and counselor. She takes all of her roles to heart, and is honored to fulfill them to the best of her ability.
Brenda recently sat down and answered a few questions for IVS.
IVS: Why did you decide to start teaching online?
BE: I have been in education for over 25 years and truly enjoy and value my time in this career and field of service. Being in education for this length of time, I have also watched education evolve and I wanted to be sure to move with the times.
IVS: What aspects about the online teaching and learning environment do you appreciate the most, and why?
BE: I truly enjoy getting to know my students virtually. Through the work that my students turn in, the conversations that we have via emails, responses back-and-forth on assignments, and conversations on the phone, I get to know my students rather well. It is nice NOT to have the barriers of everyday guidelines that must be followed for the brick-and-mortar school to function properly.
IVS: In what ways do you interact and get to know your students? How does this compare to your experience teaching a brick-and-mortar course?
BE: I get to know my students well by reading their responses to assignments, reading their discussion board dialogue, and corresponding via emails. Students also text and call me when they have questions for which they may need an immediate response.
IVS: What benefits exist for students when taking an online course?
BE: Online courses offer many benefits! 1) FREEDOM – freedom to complete daily assignments on your time at your convenience. 2) Work at a faster pace completing early or work at a slower pace completing a little at a time. 3) opportunity to meet students form other parts of ours state. 4) Opportunity to be YOU, freely.
IVS: What advice may you offer to students who are not sure if the online environment is a proper fit for them?
BE: Self-discipline is very important, OR the willingness to grow and mature in the area of self-discipline. If you are a self-starter and great manager of your own time, you will move along the course nicely. Self-discipline is important in life, so if you are open and willing to grow in this area, then taking an online course would be valuable. You will be learning and academic course along with exercising and developing self-discipline with the assistance of your online teacher.
IVS: How have you grown professionally through your online teaching experience?
BE: Stepping into online education has been a wonderful experience! I have grown professionally as I have learned to simply use my talents in a new platform. I am still the same teacher; I have simply tweaked and altered my presentation so that it reaches my students.
IVS: Why is IVS a special place to be a part of?
BE: IVS is a community that is so incredibly welcoming! IVS wants their teachers and students to be successful. If there is an issue at hand that is hindering the education process, all hands are ‘on deck’ to help the teacher and/or the student so that success can be reached. IVS is a community that always strives to BE BETTER!