How this teacher can be in 5 places at once

Chelsea Penney
October 8, 2021

Proximity Learning teacher Chelisa Elmore teaches in five places at once. Ms. Elmore teaches in Indiana, Louisiana, and three different districts in Texas - all from the comfort of her own home in Maryland. Students have access to her expertise in Latin and Spanish despite the geographical distances because Ms. Elmore livestreams into their classrooms to teach lessons every day. She provides live interaction with the students and adapts the curriculum to meet each state’s standards with each classroom’s needs in mind. Ms. Elmore provides educational equity to students who would not otherwise have access to a qualified world language teacher.

How can she teach across state lines?

Ms. Elmore is a certified virtual teacher. She works with Proximity Learning to provide Latin and Spanish classes to middle and high schools that cannot secure an in-person teacher. Through our live teaching platform, Ms. Elmore video conferences into the classroom to teach lessons, answer questions and give assignments. She teaches in a different location each period of the day.

Ms. Elmore teaches Latin 2 to 10th and 11th graders in Louisiana, then Latin 1 to Louisiana 12th graders. Next, she teaches two separate middle school Latin classes to 8th graders in Texas. Then, she moves along to Latin 1 for 9th and 10th graders in Indiana. Finally, she teaches 10th grade Spanish 2 in Texas. She works all over the country without leaving her seat and gives students the opportunity to learn a language they may not otherwise have access to. 

Ms. Elmore believes she has a greater impact on students due to her credentials. “I always think it's helpful to have a wide variety of teaching experience,” she says. “I think it helps the students feel more at ease when I can say that I've taught in a variety of schools, in multiple states, in both brick and mortar and virtually. Even though it might be a new experience for them, I can both present the confidence that they are in this environment with someone who has experience, while also letting them know that I'm flexible, and there will be some things we learn together.”

She likes teaching virtually because the challenge keeps her on her toes. “I have the ability to teach multiple classes/levels, so I don't become bored with the content teaching the same thing all day,” Ms. Elmore explains. “I also love that it gives me the ability to teach anywhere, giving me a flexibility that works for my lifestyle.”

“With virtual teaching, I don't feel confined in my teaching or my personal life,” she says. 

Ms. Elmore’s teaching style changes depending on the state academic standards because she has to ensure her lessons align with the curriculum. “For instance, in Texas, spoken Latin should mostly be used to further reading fluency, not as a separate skill, but in Indiana, spoken Latin should be used as much as possible,” she explains. She is also sensitive to cultural differences. “I am also always very conscientious about how my schools/classes will react to different things. I think all teachers consider how their students will respond to questions, but teaching in multiple states means that I'm not just dealing with one specific demographic. There are some topics that will require more preparation and consideration in different states.”

She adapts to different state curriculums and guidelines by being aware of expectations and preparing students for advancement no matter who their teacher is next year. “The one big difference with virtual vs. brick and mortar Latin is that you can't guarantee that you will have that group of students again the following year, as is traditional in-person. So I feel a great amount of professional responsibility to ensure that they are prepared for that next level no matter who they have.”

To keep up with local practices and evolving pedagogical trends, Ms. Elmore turns to social media as an idea-sharing tool. “I follow way too many teacher groups and professional organizations on social media that help me come up with ideas to supplement where I need to.”

Online live teaching gives Ms. Elmore the flexibility to continue teaching world languages to deserving students while finding balance in her personal life. She greatly impacts students around the country by offering interactive learning with a certified virtual teacher. She helps students achieve their grade-level benchmarks and prepares them for the advanced course level the following year. The challenge keeps her engaged in her work, and she always seeks educational innovations to ensure student success.

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Chelsea Penney earned her Bachelors Degree in Writing from University of Colorado Denver. She is currently in graduate school through Texas A&M University studying Marketing. She loves living in Austin, TX and working on the frontline of the many marketing initiatives for Proximity Learning.

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