What an FLVS Teacher Does

Pictured: FLVS Chinese Instructor, May H.

Pictured: FLVS Chinese Instructor, May H.

“What do you do for a living?”

I am asked this question, I am sure like many of you, many times a week. After I give my response, on occasion I get a puzzled look with the question, “How do you make those connections like they do in the traditional classroom?”

Let’s imagine you are arriving to the most posh and plush resort in the world. You have seen it on television, on the web, or perhaps in person. You arrive and you feel lighter in your feet, the smell of the hotel reminds you of the succulent aroma of spa salts, and you are greeted with your favorite beverage adorned with a drink umbrella. Your bags are whisked away from you, onto a cart that appears out of nowhere and you approach the front desk to a smiling, welcoming, and inviting environment where you are addressed by name.

Your reservation consisted of asking what type of pillows you desire with many options from which to choose, including “I don’t know, so bring them all.” Would you like a view of the pool or of the ocean? Which tower would you prefer, heaven or serenity? You view a map which shows where to find the pool, the beach, the towels, and the spa. The customer service attendant, again, addresses you by name and calls for your bags to be delivered to your room. After receiving your keys to your bungalow, you walk along the hallway which opens into the most pristine and green garden your eyes have ever seen, your nose has ever smelled, and you are left breathless with the beauty. You are certain this experience will be like no other.

This is what an FLVS teacher does!

We are there to greet students, ask parents questions about their child’s learning, and discuss how we can partner together to walk down a path that creates greatness for their child. We utilize a prescriptive approach that enables students to choose a learning path that creates opportunity where opportunity may not have existed. We learn about our students and their parents and families. Just as the front desk calls to your room to ensure you are settled well and to see what we can provide, an FLVS teacher checks in with their students each week to see what we can do to help make this learning experience full of amazing moments. We show students a map that will help guide them through the course and offer encouragement through email, phone, text, instant message, video chat, and in our grading feedback. We are placing the student at the center. The student is our number one customer.

My desire for making the difference in the lives of children brought me to the field of education. My passion for infusing 21st century skills with an authentic learning experience for each child brought me to my career as an online teacher at Florida Virtual School. The traditional school classroom was one in which I felt trapped by the four walls as students were forced to learn at the pace of the teacher. At Florida Virtual School, I feel enabled to create authentic learning experiences for my students as well as individual prescriptive learning paths based on each student’s individual learning needs. When I am asked what I do and I reply, I am an educator at Florida Virtual School, I am telling the world that I am transforming education, one student at a time. Just like a resort welcomes and treats their customers like they are the most important guests to arrive, each one of my students is my number one customer!!

My connections run deeper, they are more authentic, and I am making a difference!

Michelle Licata, FLVS 2013 Teacher of the Year, is a National Board Certified Teacher. She chose to teach social studies because she enjoys exploring past and present “real life” issues that really matter to her students.

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