There are benefits to virtual schooling

As a veteran teacher with more than 33 years of experience in various educational settings, primarily large school classrooms, I never expected to create such a bond with my “virtual students.” I teach for Connections Academy in Colorado but want to share my experience with Iowans.

The virtual classroom has enabled me to form closer relationships with my students and their parents than at any other school. I have the opportunity to speak with my students one on one, without interruptions. I conduct LiveLesson online class sessions where I am able to directly connect with my students, enabling me to get to know their individual needs and adapt lessons accordingly. This virtual environment also gives the students a sense of freedom to express themselves without fear of rejection or exposure to mocking from their fellow students. It’s a terrific learning environment.

Although virtual schooling isn’t for everyone, it is beneficial for students who learn better outside of the traditional classroom setting but still can benefit from the resources a public school provides — such as state-certified teachers, textbooks, lesson plans and opportunities for peer interaction and community involvement. Virtual schools also are excellent for students whose talents and interests could not be nurtured as well following regular classroom hours. I feel like I am making a difference and connecting with my students in ways that I never knew were possible.

Peggy Barnholt

Englewood, Colo.

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