Earth-Environmental Science

Mary Alexander

Personal and Professional

I earned my BS in Biology from Florida State University (Woohoo! National Champions!) and my MAEd in Science Education from ECU. I am from FL and started my teaching career in Orlando. I taught one semester of 8th grade science and then switched over to HS. I taught Earth Space Science and Chemistry in FL before moving to NC in 2000. We first moved to Holden Beach and I taught Biology, Physical Science, and Oceanography/Astronomy at West Brunswick HS in Shallotte. We moved to High Point in 2003. I taught Biology, Physical Science, and Anatomy/Physiology at High Point Central HS. I also taught Anatomy/Physiology I & II and Musculoskeletal theory I & II at GTCC in their Massage Therapy program for about 4 years (I was a licensed massage therapist at the time.) I left the classroom in 2005 and went to work for Carolina Biological Supply Company as a Product Developer. I wrote teacher's manuals/student worksheets/developed kits and traveled around the country facilitating workshops for teachers. When my oldest son was born in 2008, I no longer wanted to travel or commute and I returned to the classroom. I was the Science Specialist at Griffith Elementary School in WS for three years until budget cuts caused me to be surplused in 2011. I applied for a central office position and have been the HS Science Instructional Coach for Forsyth County ever since.

My youngest son was born in Oct 2012 and the two boys (Nathaniel, 5 and Isaac, 1) keep me very busy! My husband is also a teacher and a football coach, so I am solo much of the year. My family is really my everything. Whew! That was longer than I intended.

What Makes a Successful Online Teacher?

A successful online teacher has to be very organized. Record keeping is HUGE (and my biggest struggle!) You also have to be willing to reach out to the kids in any way that you can think of since they are not physically in front of you every day. I have contacted football coaches, athletic directors, ROTC officers, etc. simply because a student mentioned in passing that they were involved in one of those and I knew that those people could reach him/her. Time management skills are a must, too. It constantly amazes me how much time it takes up. Without self discipline, I could never pull it off.

Tips for Success

As for tips for student success, I would have to say constant nagging, I mean encouragement. :) Texting, calling, messaging, talking to the staff at the school, parents, etc. It truly takes a village. I also try to emphasize to the students that I really am here to help them. Forming those trust relationships with the parent and the student is so important.