Welcome to another ETalk, where we introduce an amazing person at Elevate K-12 involved in revolutionizing education through high-quality live online instruction inside schools!
Name: Katie M.
Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
How Long Have You Been With Elevate K-12: <1 year
Expert/Superstar In: Spanish I and II
What excites you most about teaching your particular subject?
I love teaching Spanish because it is a chance to intellectually travel to another country and another culture within the realm of your classroom. I hope that by learning Spanish, students are introduced to the vastness of the world and the possibility of travel to other cultures and interactions with other kinds of people. Plus there are so many opportunities to practice Spanish in our country, so it really is useful and relevant!
How do you make live, online instruction engaging?
Not only do I try to be an enthusiastic and dynamic teacher, but the thing that has helped make my online instruction more engaging is having students do more of the talking and teaching. I try to have students conduct the activities, read the instruction slides, and take ownership of their learning. When the students are in charge, they are much more likely to be engaged and pay attention to each other!
What strategies do you use to effectively reach your students who are working below grade-level expectations?
The private chat feature has been a life-saver with students who are working below grade-level expectations. I also like to pair up those students with higher-performing students as a kind of mentor partnership who can help them with effective note-taking or even share their notes. Effectively partnering with my CCs has also been a game-changer. I’m lucky to have incredible CCs who stay in contact with those students’ families, keep me in the loop about how they are doing in their other school subjects, and let me know if the student has an IEP or 504.
What do you like about working from home/remotely?
I love the ability to teach in a variety of settings and cities, while simultaneously being in my own home. It is a chance to travel around the country by meeting students from different regions and walks of life.
How do you ensure your students have been successful whether they’re learning at home, school, or both?
I do frequent checks for information and cold calling. While I know not all teachers like to use cold calling, in my classes the students know that they could be called on at any moment, so they are more likely to be attentive and paying attention. Speaking is a huge element of learning a foreign language, so when I am able to hear their voices and react to their pronunciation/inflection, I know whether they have been successful or not – either at home, school, or both.
Describe your best moment teaching live and online.
My favorite moment teaching live and online was early on in the school year with my fully remote section of students. We were learning some basic greetings in Spanish I, and we did an impromptu game with the whiteboard. One student served as a timekeeper, one student served as host, and several other students were the players. We ended up having around eight students competing on the whiteboard at the same time with the host giving directions/words in Spanish. Even the few students who were not writing on the board were engaged in the chatbox with their reactions and responses to what was happening on the board. It was a moment that felt like a fully cohesive class with everyone participating, despite the fact that no one could see each other. We have recreated that game several times, but the first time we played made a real impact on me!
Tell us a little more about who you are–what do you like to do? What’s your favorite hobby? What’s something super surprising about you? Be creative!
I am a former musical theatre actress, who loves to travel and meet international people. I’ve lived in Spain, Ecuador, and England, and I am currently completing an online master’s degree. Last year I converted a cargo van into a tiny home and traveled cross-country visiting national parks and iconic American landmarks, which was incredible. I am a nomad at heart and take my miniature dachshund (called Nutmeg) everywhere with me as a little sidekick!
Thanks, Katie M.!