By Rimsha Syed
Getting to know students in a virtual instructional atmosphere is arguably tougher than the relationships formed in brick and mortar settings, however English and history teacher, Lisa Malick, is committed to making students feel welcome and cared for nonetheless.
Miss Malick had to leave her teaching post after eight years due to reasons concerning her physical well being and although she was worried about how her connection to her students would remain the same, working with Proximity Learning has proven beneficial to both her and the students she educates.
“I always spend longer than average investing in getting to know my students, making sure I was fostering connections,” she said. “The results always paid off at the end of the year with high test scores and well behaved students.”
Given the circumstances, Miss Malick admits that connecting with students is not the same, but unique in ways she would have never imagined. Instead of listening to students talk about their lives, during lunch breaks, they send her messages via canvas, an open source management systems that gives students access to their classes. Since students have to think twice about their letters, they put quality into their words.
“I chose to work with Proximity Learning because the platform and the online environment and the connection might come close and I hoped for the best,” she explained.
Miss Malick appreciates the genuinity that this format allows and tells us that students can really let their guard down. According to a study from the Department of Education, students who take part or all of their classes online performed better than those who took the same course in a face-to-face classroom setting. A handful of students rely on Proximity Learning’s live education system to keep up with their school work despite battling with their own chronic illnesses.
“I would have lost all ability to connect and talk with these students in a traditional classroom since they would be at home,” Miss Malick said. “We have similar experiences and stories and I love that i’m still able to make connections with such a special group of students.”
It may be intimidating for students who are a bit more on the quiet side to speak up or even ask questions in a full classroom, but the virtual setting gives them the confidence to start to have a new voice. Since students have the ability to talk through the chatbox amidst live class sessions, Miss Malick can hear from students that usually won’t speak up.
“I love the different types of connections and I value the unique experiences that I have open my world,” she said.