• Elevate K-12

Instructor of the Month - Tiffany M.

Welcome to another ETalk, where we introduce an amazing person at Elevate K-12 involved in revolutionizing education through high-quality live online instruction inside schools!

Name: Tiffany M.

Location: Chicago, IL

Experience With Elevate K-12: 2 - 3 years

Expert/Superstar In: Science and ASL

What excites you most about teaching your particular subject?

I've been teaching Science since joining the Elevate team and what excites me the most about teaching this particular subject is the opportunity to encourage students to really consider the world around them and the many wonderful parts of our systems that operate on microscopic levels.

How do you make live, online instruction engaging?

The key for me is making the students feel welcomed, no matter who they are and what their background is. I always make a point to call the students by name and show genuine interests in them and things they are proud of.

What strategies do you use to effectively reach your students who are working below grade-level expectations?

I often reach out to my students who are working below grade-level expectations via private chat to ask them if they need assistance during assessments or when completing other Otus assignments, and I also encourage them to respond via private chat if they don't feel comfortable enough to share with the class. I believe that failing grades are often linked to a lack of participation. From the beginning until the end of the session I make it a priority to praise students for being engaged and sharing their responses, reminding them that our class is a safe zone where they can feel free to participate without fear of getting an answer incorrect. I also believe it's important to celebrate even the small wins in progress.

What do you like about working from home/remotely?

I enjoy the freedom of being in my own space while doing impactful work that never gets boring. I love the idea of being able to connect with my students no matter where I am and having the wonderful experience of interacting with them and their CCs who come from all walks of life and from various parts of the country.

How do you ensure your students have been successful whether they're learning at home, school, or both?

I often stress the importance of taking notes, as they serve as a vital tool for review and preparing for future exams. One of my strategies is to do what I call a notebook check. The students have to take a picture of their notes for the day and upload them to an Otus assignment. This way I can check to see if they are not only following directions but if they have the concepts needed from the lesson to make studying effective. I also engage the students in group discussion throughout the sessions, enable their microphones so they can dialogue with one another, and ask them to summarize the text and explain their reasoning.

Describe your best moment teaching live and online. Be specific!

I had a science student who rarely participated and was performing below grade level. Her classmates were taking standardized tests in school that she was not required to take, so it was just her and I in the virtual classroom. During that time we got to know one another and she was able to receive one-on-one help with prior concepts from lessons that she struggled with. She caught on quickly and I was surprised that for the next 2 days of testing she logged into the session even though she didn't have to. Her aid sent me an email, explaining how the student has had challenges connecting with teachers in the past and how she really came out of her shell with me during those few days. When the session resumed as normal, I immediately noticed a shift in her behavior. She was more engaged in the lessons and participated a lot more. I believe that she, as well as many other students, have a willingness to learn, and sometimes all it takes for us as instructors is to demonstrate patience and show that we care.

Tell us a little more about who you are--what do you like to do?

I live in Chicago with my husband and our long-haired chihuahua dog-child. I enjoy working out (mainly dancing), and long walks. I love a good road trip, Star Trek (The Next Generation) episodes, and rummaging through a deeply discounted garage sale. I have a thing for National Geographic magazines and can be found 4 o'clock in the morning cooking, serious night-owl!

Thanks, Tiffany M.!

Want to work at Elevate K-12? Apply today!