We celebrate World Teacher’s Day on October 5 each year to recognize the commitment teachers make to educating students around the world. At VHS, our highly qualified teachers provide excellent student support and are a vital part of an overall positive student experience. It might interest you to know that our curriculum coordinators, department heads, course writers, and content developers are also OCT-certified teachers. Together with our guidance and administrative teams, we are all dedicated to ensuring VHS students are encouraged and supported throughout their academic journey. Great teachers positively influence students’ lives and we are proud to have so many wonderful teachers at Virtual High School!
We called on our English Department Co-Head, John Smallwood, to tell us a bit about his experiences in teaching over the years:
After forty-six years of teaching in public and separate schools and at a post-secondary institution, I’m not sure where to begin, particularly in light of the enormous changes that technologies have brought to education. The dog-eared texts kept in book storerooms are giving way to a digitized world in which images, written texts, and tools have revolutionized virtually all previous notions of what teaching entails.
However, some things have not changed. Teaching continues to be a great privilege and a tremendous responsibility. Every teacher has a duty to disseminate ideas that represent the experimentation, thinking, and explorations of various kinds that have gone on previously in the disciplines. It’s our responsibility to do so enthusiastically and innovatively. If we fail to develop the full potential in students, we’ve failed ourselves as teachers and, more importantly, left unrealized the possibility that students might have excelled in a subject area that would have led to their great success.
As teachers, we must allow students the chance to discover for themselves the possibilities for success, and yes, failure – the realization of which is also a success that can lead to greater self-understanding. All of this happens, not only within the context of the classroom, but also in relationships that teachers develop with students whether those partnerships arise in coaching, teaching in conventional classrooms, casual contact in hallways or cafeterias, or in online teaching, the last of which can become one of the most rewarding teaching experiences.
In the online classroom, the student who had previously been shy has the freedom to speak out, to ask questions, to feel that his or her opinions matter. The exceptionally capable student has the opportunity to work ahead, to “fast track” in ways that used to be impossible. Newer technologies have provided opportunities for superior instruction and unparalleled flexibility in the perfect student-teacher ratio of one-to-one. I am increasingly convinced that new methods of instruction allow for greater student success and more independence in learning than ever before. Socrates would no doubt approve.
It is exciting to see how teaching continues to change over the years and how experienced teachers like Mr. Smallwood collaborate with new teachers, all in the common goal of helping students succeed. We encourage you to learn about some of our teachers and how they are contributing to education. Read our Teacher Spotlights.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our teachers, each of whom demonstrates tremendous dedication to student success every day. Please share your positive stories and experiences with teaching or learning in a comment below.
Happy World Teacher’s Day!