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Engaging Students in Virtual Learning: Get to Know EdOptions Academy Teacher Lauren Masino

Engaging Students in Virtual Learning: Get to Know EdOptions Academy Teacher Lauren Masino

Learning doesn’t take place in isolation. Almost everyone has lasting memories of special instances when an educator helped him or her make a breakthrough on a challenging concept or skill. Similarly, every educator has his or her own stories of watching those aha moments happen. This element of human connection is central to education—and it is cool to be a part of. It’s also one of the things educators, students, and parents alike are often afraid of losing when weighing the pros and cons of virtual learning options.

At Edmentum, putting relationships first in online learning is always a top priority. With technology playing a growing role in nearly every aspect of day-to-day life, the way that we’re all communicating is evolving—and we believe that online courses can reflect this. Our team of outstanding virtual teachers is the backbone of student success in our fully accredited virtual school, EdOptions Academy. Our teachers are from your state, often from neighboring districts. They are licensed classroom teachers with at least three years of classroom experience, and they receive extensive training in online education and virtual instruction after joining the EdOptions Academy team. They are real educators with real passion for helping each one of their students achieve those lightbulb moments that lead to positive long-term academic and career outcomes.

Check out what one of our EdOptions Academy science instructors, Lauren Masino, has to say about what motivates her to work in education, what her job as a virtual teacher involves, and why she loves working with EdOptions Academy students!

Share a little about your background in education. Where did you go to college, and what degree(s) do you hold? What schools/districts did you work at prior to EdOptions Academy, and what roles have your held?

I went to Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania for my bachelor’s degree in secondary education (science) and split time between Immaculata University in Pennsylvania and Southern New Hampshire University for my master’s degree in business education. I’m certified in several sciences, grades 5 and up, in five different states. Before coming to EdOptions Academy, I taught 8th grade science in the Centennial District in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and worked for over eight years as a middle school science teacher and lead teacher at the Florida Virtual School.

Being an educator takes a lot of passion. What’s your “why” for having pursued a career in education?

I loved school! I often found myself paraphrasing school lessons to friends and classmates—putting things into “other words” to help it become more digestible to those who were struggling. I was a peer tutor, a mathlete, and loved language, as well as art. I chose to teach middle school because it’s such a pivotal time for students, balancing both academics and major life changes. I felt like I could be a relatable presence for them. I often joke that I know much more about being a kind and understanding human being than I do about science itself—but sometimes, that is what students need!

What is your favorite thing about being an EdOptions Academy teacher?

What’s not to love? I have relatable, helpful, and personable colleagues that always brighten my day. I am supported by an Instructional Leader who encourages me, values my feedback, and never hesitates to step in when I need a hand. I am trusted to make decisions that are in the best interest of my students. The atmosphere here is incredible and unlike anywhere else I’ve ever taught.

What do you do to get to know your EdOptions Academy students and make sure that you develop a real relationship with them?

I text my students a lot because they actually respond, and I make awful jokes! I just try to be silly and nonthreatening. Sometimes, I email pictures of my dogs or my family. I try to make references to current events or pop culture in grading feedback. It all depends upon the student, but I feel like when I am warm and open, it allows our relationship to bloom.

What is your proudest moment as an EdOptions Academy teacher so far?

While I enjoy celebrating the success of every student, I had a particularly proud milestone recently with a high school student to whom I’d grown particularly close over the semester. She struggled with science but was always willing to meet via a virtual video call for tutoring or to listen to my feedback for improving assignments. On Friday, she still wasn’t passing her course, and her semester ended on Monday. I made sure to provide support over the weekend, texting her all throughout the day and evening if needed and grading assignments within minutes of submission so she’d know where she stood. When she lost course access unexpectedly, I exported her lessons as PDF and emailed them to her so she had hard copies to work from when tech support couldn’t be reached. When she had completed the lessons I emailed her, I had her text pictures of her printed work to me for grading. She finished in the nick of time and passed the course—a feat she didn’t believe could be possible. I was so proud of her because she wanted to succeed. That’s the thing about online learning – success is only possible if you make the effort, and she sure did. I’m so very proud of her!

Want to learn more? Find out how you can bring virtual learning to life and enhance, expand, and extend your school’s or districts’ offerings with flexible and fully accredited digital learning solutions from Edmentum’s EdOptions Academy!