Teaching from a Cruise Ship

Chelsea Penney
October 11, 2023

Certified French teacher Carol Hill taught for 25 years in a traditional New Jersey brick-and-mortar school before retiring and moving to Florida. She wanted to continue teaching, so she made the switch to virtual teaching to continue her career on her own terms. 

“I’m passionate about what I do.”

When her daughter and brother surprised her with an Alaskan cruise, she couldn’t turn them down. The one caveat - she just started the school year with one of her virtual French classes. Ms. Hill stressed over how to teach her classes from the cruise ship. With her detailed pre-planning and intensive organization of her resources, she was successfully able to teach from the inner passage of Alaska.

How to teach from a cruise ship

Ms. Hill started by crowd-sourcing information from her colleagues. ‘Has anyone ever taught from a cruise ship before?’ Then, she checked in with the cruise line. She investigated the connection options, upgraded her wifi package, and learned that she would have access to starlink. Things were looking good. 

From there, she decided to purchase a portable second screen that attached to her laptop, so she could have two monitors. Ms. Hill was open about her plans with Proximity Learning and communicated with her Teaching and Learning Specialist and other colleagues. She even sent another teacher her lessons and livestream access as a backup to cover her class just in case something went wrong with the connection. 

Her lessons were planned, Proximity Learning was notified, she did everything in advance. Ms. Hill was ready, if a bit nervous.

>Seattle, Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Inner passage, Victoria BC, Seattle>

Ms. Hill began her vacation by flying from her home in Florida to a hotel in Seattle. Friday morning, she taught from her hotel room. She realized this really can work. She can do this. 

She boarded the cruise ship and used the weekend sea days to investigate the wifi onboard. “I had Saturday and Sunday. I took my laptop all over the ship to find the fastest connection. I went from the top level, both sides, I went to the pool, the library, the dining room trying to find speeds that would be the fastest. I finally found out that they cyber cafe would be the best place to work. Since it was 6 in the morning, no one else was taking up the bandwidth. I sent a zoom link to my PLI colleague. She and I did 2 test zooms, and the cyber cafe worked perfectly. Monday morning, I got into zoom with my students in Virginia.”

“Madam, you sound better from Alaska than you do from Florida!”

Monday morning, Ms. Hill left her stateroom and made her way to the cyber cafe. She set up her second monitor, pulled up her lessons, and started her livestream. 

When her students logged on and could hear and see her, she felt a huge wave of relief. She asked how the connection was and the class exclaimed, “Madam, you sound better from Alaska than you do from Florida!” Clear as day.

Ms. Hill successfully taught French and enjoyed her Alaskan cruise with her daughter and brother. She even shared the map and photos of her trip with her class in French, putting her lessons into practice. “They sort of tagged along for the adventure.”

Teachers deserve to vacation

Ms. Hill enjoyed fishing, an airplane ride, and seeing stunning glaciers. They toured throughout Alaska and spent quality time together. 

“If anyone has a chance to travel, don’t reject it out of hand because you might be able to make it work. I was free to go as long as I could satisfy PLI.” And she worked hard to ensure her success. “PLI was very gracious and I’m just glad I could make it work for everybody.” 

“I like to think that teaching is a joyful process, and this is just joy.”

Proximity Learning virtual teachers enjoy the time and location flexibility which allows them to achieve work/life balance. Interested? Apply to teach with us today!

about the author
Chelsea Penney

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 as Content Marketing Manager for Proximity Learning.

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