How Our Teachers are Preparing for Back to School

Chelsea Penney
August 18, 2021

Kick-off to the 2021-22 school year is here, and Proximity Learning’s virtual certified teachers are ready! Here are some things they have been doing to prepare for new classes and new students.

Professional Development

Proximity Learning teachers have many resources available to them to prepare for back to school. Our learning and development team supports teachers by providing professional development training to help all Proximity Learning teachers start the new school year with updated technology training. 

Make your Schedule

Proximity Learning teachers are alerted of available classes all summer long so they can teach to fill their personalized schedules. Before the school year begins, teachers enter their availability and expertise. Then, the Proximity Learning Programs Team matches their working hours, teaching certifications and preferences with open classes. Some teachers teach several Math classes for one school. Others teach Spanish courses in different schools within the same school district. Some teachers teach Science classes in a different state every period of the day. The flexibility is built in to meet teachers’ schedules and create consistency for students. Once teachers match with a class, they teach that class all year.

Ongoing Support

Our teachers meet with their support teams to ensure their questions are answered, and they have assistance to quickly rectify issues if they arise throughout the year. They are supported by our staff year-round, from summer to summer. Finally, they develop personalized instruction plans for each class.

Traditional teachers have weeks of work to do before their students come back to the classroom. They prepare by gathering supplies, organizing files and preparing student name tags. Traditional teachers must create an emergency substitute folder, label books and supplies, set up their gradebook, and decorate their classrooms. Everything needs to be physically ready to welcome students back to school. Additionally, traditional classroom teachers have to attend training, prepare lesson plans, and meet with their faculty teams. 

How is teaching with Proximity Learning different?

Proximity Learning teachers work from home on their own schedules. They enter their Zoom classrooms at their scheduled time and interact with students through the computer as they work through lessons together. Because of this flexible instruction model, they do not have the same restraints as traditional classroom teachers. 

Our online live instruction model eliminates the burden of physical classroom setup from our teachers. Proximity Learning teachers can focus on writing engaging lesson plans that exceed state standards because they do not spend time collecting supplies and setting up the classroom. They can learn more about useful technological tools because they are not bogged down by their commute. They have enough support to effectively teach their classes and enough flexibility to be creative within the curriculum. They work closely with their school principal and Proximity Learning’s curriculum team and have greater reach because they teach virtually. By teaching in multiple states in one day, more students are impacted around the country.

How do virtual certified teachers prepare to head back to school?

Proximity Learning teacher Ms. Maxfield is teaching 4th grade Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) this school year. To prepare she says, “I am seeking out veteran teachers that have experienced teaching these preps. I believe in working ‘smarter’ and every year I collaborate with teachers that are experienced in comparable situations.” She has also attended Proximity Learning’s online professional development. “My favorite training this summer was about how to incorporate KAGAN strategies (collaborative learning groups) within the virtual setting.” When lesson planning, Ms. Maxfield uses the school’s live ed curriculum as a template, and “then I modify the assignments to fit my learning population.” 

Proximity Learning teacher Ms. Adams is teaching English Language Arts (ELA) to 6th, 7th, and 8th grade Hospitalized and Homebound students in Georgia. She says, “These smaller class sizes will allow me to have more one-on-one time so I look forward to forging relationships with my new students!” To get ready for the new school year, she has attended several trainings that introduce new virtual teaching resources. “This year, I particularly enjoyed helping Specialist Shelly Fisher host the ‘Be the Lighthouse Growth Mindset’ summer PD. I am also excited to learn more about Nearpod in the weeks to come.” 

As far as lesson planning, Ms. Adams says, “I enjoy injecting my own flair into state standards and curriculum. I also make sure to provide the kids with cross-curricular connections. If I can integrate science, math, or social studies topics along with ELA, learners develop a better understanding of how those subjects correlate. Sticking to the standards doesn't have to be boring. I enjoy planning fun activities and assignments that will engage the students. Students remember engaging lessons so much more!”

Teaching for Proximity Learning gives teachers the flexibility and creative freedom to give students the education they deserve. By removing time-consuming activities and physical limitations, teachers can provide high-quality instruction for students around the country.

Chelsea Penney earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Writing from University of Colorado Denver and her Masters of Science in Marketing from Texas A&M University Commerce. She loves living in Austin, TX and working on the frontline of the many marketing initiatives for Proximity Learning.

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