The Mentee Minute
January 2016, Volume Five
Welcome to The Mentee Minute and 2016! Happy New Year!
The Mentee Minute is a monthly publication that highlights resources, best practices, and Professional Learning events for the Just in Time cohort and GaVS faculty.
In this edition, The Mentee Minute presents helpful tips for the first weeks of school, introduces the GaVS Mentoring Team for 2015-2016, and offers resources for continued effective online instruction.
Enjoy, collaborate, and continue to be brilliant!
A great read . . .
Professional Learning Information and ePortfolio
For those unable to attend live, the following link houses all of the events and recordings for the Professional Learning and Just in Time activities: https://gavirtualschool.sharepoint.com/sites/tq/_layouts/15/start.aspx#/SitePages/Home.aspx.
All GaVS faculty must review the Professional Learning Guidelines and create an individualized plan. As new faculty, consider collaborating with the assigned mentor could be most helpful.
Professional Learning Guidelines: https://gavirtualschool.sharepoint.com/sites/tq/_layouts/15/WopiFrame.aspx?sourcedoc=%7B33F9FCF3-F3D0-4BC3-883A-CC3E92FF58B6%7D&file=Professional%20Learning%20Guidelines%202015-2016.docx&action=default.
Just in Time Information and Calendar
Meeting Link: http://gavirtualschool.adobeconnect.com/jitfall2014/
*Please note, participation in Just in Time is mandatory, and attendance is logged by assigned Mentor. If recording option is utilized, please submit a summary of the session, via email, by Friday.
Save the date! Spring 2016 Professional Learning Symposium!
Professional Learning Event for January!
The GaVS Mentoring Team!
Jeana Worley, GaVS Science Mentor
Welcome to Georgia Virtual School!
I am Jeana Worley and teach in the science department. I got my undergraduate and graduate degrees in secondary science education from UGA. I am married with 3 daughters. Alayna is 7 ½, Julia is 5 ½, and Christina is 2 ½. Our first “baby” is a black lab mix named Boone, who is now 13. We love going on hikes around North Georgia, especially to waterfalls. I taught biology in the face to face classroom for 10 years in Gwinnett County. I have been teaching with Georgia Virtual School since 2008.
I am a full-time science instructor and have taught a variety of science classes. I currently teach Anatomy and Physiology, as well as Oceanography. I have really enjoyed my work as a mentor and look forward to another fabulous semester!
Jenna's Tip: Keep your communication log up to date!
Doug Curtright, GaVS Science Mentor
I just started my 13th year with Gwinnett County Schools and live in the Lawrenceville area. I am the proud father of two wonderful girls - one 3rd grader and one 4th grader. I love teaching Science but if you caught me during my free time I might be making BBQ, riding my bike, or watching my beloved Bulldogs play football. I feel really privileged to be a teacher because it is a job I truly love.
I started with GAVS in 2007 as an adjunct and became half-time in 2013. I have been a mentor to new GAVS teachers since 2013 and it is one of my favorite parts of my job. I love the online environment because it provides so much flexibility. It is wonderful for students to be able to learn wherever and whenever as their schedule allows. It is wonderful for teachers to be able to tap into the vast resources of the Web. Online instruction brings so much to the table and I consider myself fortunate to have been a part of GAVS during a time when we have experienced so much growth and I look forward to the continued expansion of online learning in the state of Georgia. I know GAVS will continue to be a leader for online education in our state and throughout the country.
My one piece of advice to new teachers is to not be afraid to ask questions of your colleagues (and of course your mentor). Our job changes all the time and sometimes you just have to ask someone where to find something or how to do something. There is nothing wrong with that! I can't think of anyone in the GAVS organization who would not love to help a new teacher or even a veteran teacher.
Bobby Walker, GaVS Social Studies Mentor
Hello mentees! My name is Bobby Walker. I have been an educator for 10 years working in social studies and special education. I graduated from the University of Georgia with a BA in History, and later received my MAT in Special Education from Piedmont College. I taught in Clarke County for seven years and have been working with GAVS for the past three years. I have been in the social studies department since starting with GAVS and have taught World History, Economics, World Geography, and AP Human Geography. I also have served as a mentor (as you already know) and have had roles in course development.
Although I loved teaching in a traditional school setting, I really enjoy teaching online because, believe it or not, I feel like I get to know students more personally than I would in a face-to-face classroom setting. With online teaching, I get to see hard working students successfully tackle rigorous coursework in a real time setting.
Working online also allows me flexibility and the opportunity to stay at home and be with my family. I have been married to another educator for 10 years who also is in online education. We have three children, Amelie, Liam, and Isla, all under the age of six! We love travel and experiencing other cultures, and have used our occupational freedom to hit the open road. In fact, we spent all of 2013 traveling through Europe, spent a month each in Asheville, NC and NYC last summer, and have lived at the beach when not travelling. We just recently moved back to Georgia in June as our third child is only a few months old and we wanted to be a bit closer to family and friends.
I am excited to have you as a mentee this year. GAVS is one of preeminent leaders in online education nationally, and is considered the flagship school for the state of Georgia. Unlike traditional school districts, GAVS is not limited geographically to who it can employ. That means you were selected from a very wide and very talented pool of employable candidates. All that said, you should be congratulated as being one of the elite teachers in the state of Georgia. While there are many aspects of online teaching that are similar to teaching face-to-face, there are also many differences that make online teaching a unique experience. Even the most seasoned teachers will need to learn new techniques and tricks to navigate online teaching successfully. However, I fully believe that our collaboration will be a valuable tool in your journey to becoming an incredible online teacher.
The greatest indicator of success for a GAVS teacher is the ability to successfully follow policy. GAVS has been around for ten years, which has really allowed them to develop and test policies that give all students the best chance of success in the course while simultaneously protecting the teachers' time and careers. I would also include that GAVS admin have done a good job making sure that policies serve a purpose and aren’t frivolous (which can be rare in bureaucracy). Sometimes following a specific policy as required might not make you popular with a particular parent or student. However, it important that you continue to do so even when difficult. I would suggest familiarizing yourself as soon as possible by reading the Teacher Handbook and exploring the Teacher Toolbox. You’ll find that handling specific situations with students and parents through out the semester becomes a lot easier when you have a strong framework from which to refer.
Shane Miller, GaVS Social Studies Mentor
My name is Shane Miller and I've been with the GAVS for close to 10 years now. I teach AP World History, World History, and Economics. I've also spent 21 years in the classroom and currently teach AP World History and World Geography at North Forsyth High School. My wife is an elementary school teacher so you can pretty much guess what the main topic is around our house. We raised two great boys (despite their parents!). My oldest graduated from Georgia Southern about a year ago and my youngest is a Sophomore at the University of Georgia.
I have done a little bit of everything with the GAVS such as developing classes, reviewing classes, serving as SS Dept. Chair (many years ago!), and have had the priviledge of working for the greatest mentoring team/program in the state the last couple of years! My biggest advice to new teacher is to ASK QUESTIONS!! Lots of them. Never feel like you are asking a stupid question even if you are a veteran in the classroom.
The virtual world can take some getting used to and you should always feel comfortable asking questions.
Mallory Kirkland, GaVS Language Arts Mentor
My name is Mallory Kirkland, and I have spent most of my life in Peachtree City, GA. I completed my undergrad at UGA in English, my Masters at Georgia State in Secondary English Education, and my Specialist at Georgia Southern in Curriculum Studies. When I'm not working, I spend most of my time triathlon training and spending time with my friends, family, and new puppy.
I have taught 9th-12th grade face to face for seven years, and I have been with GaVS for four years as a teacher, mentor, course developer, and credit recovery essay grader. With GaVS I've taught 9th, 10th, Contemporary Lit., English Lit., AP Lit, Journalism, and SAT Prep. I have loved every minute of teaching with GaVS, and some of my colleagues have become my best friends.
As you become more comfortable teaching with GaVS, I would say the most important thing to remember is to adhere to the common policies and procedures regarding grading, feedback, and late work in order for everyone to stay on the same page. I also believe the more questions you ask your mentor, the more you will grow as an instructor with GaVS--and this school is a GREAT place to be! Have fun! #GaVSPride
Yolanda Nigrelli, GaVS World Language Mentor
Ask questions and use Edmodo as a resource! Valuable information.
Alice Johnson, GaVS Mathematics Mentor
My name is Alice Johnson and I'm a first generation Vietnamese-American. My family immigrated to America in 1975, during the fall of Saigon. I am the youngest of 6 children and the only child born in America. I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and earned my Bachelor of Arts in Drama from Cleveland State University. Upon graduation, I moved to Las Vegas to work as a scenic artist where I painted scenery, backdrops, and built props and sets. The only famous person I met there was Billy Bob Thornton, when I worked on a short independent film called, "The Last Real Cowboys." In 1999, I moved to Atlanta and managed a small franchise called, Signs by Tomorrow, designing and producing signs and banners.
In 2004, I went back to school and earned a Masters in Secondary Math Education from Georgia State University. I taught math at Parkview High School, in Gwinnett County ever since. In addition, I started working as an adjunct instructor with the Gwinnett Online Campus in 2010. I saw how the landscape of education was changing and it was very exciting to me. I love to learn new things and to be involved anything new and innovative. This is why I love technology. It is constantly evolving and everything is getting better and faster. In 2013, I started as an adjunct instructor with GAVS. This is my first year as a full time employee with GAVs and I'm so happy!
On the personal side, I have been married for 13 years and we have two daughters, Quy Lan and Mai Xuan, ages 7 and 8. In my free time, I love to play tennis and spend time with family and friends.
I wish you all a great semester with GAVS. The key to being a successful online teacher is to follow policies and to have good time management. I am here to help so please do not hesitate to ask questions.
Alice's Tip: Check out the Teacher Toolbox for excellent resources!