The Life of a Cyber Teacher

by - November 24, 2014

First off, just wanted to mention that the registration for the Winter Style Me Challenge is open Winter/Holiday Style Challenge SquareWednesday I'll be showing you my favourite look from the Basics Challenge, which is on as we speak and then Friday I'll be blogging with my friends that I met doing these challenges (which I think has been the most rewarding part, by far) and we'll be sharing our favourite recipe with 5 ingredients or less.
But today, I want to talk about what it's been like making a change in my career.

I started my pursuit of a teaching career, fresh out of high school and then convocated from the University of Regina with a French major and Fine Arts minor when I was 22.

I had applied many places for jobs, mostly with the goal of travelling: Caymen Islands, New York, France.....but in the end, I decided to take a job back in my hometown, at my alma mater which meant I would be living with my parents to start off and teaching my brother. 

This is our annual "first day of school" pic...Kyla was in University and was mad she had to get up, Rob was in Grade 10 and what was I wearing on my feet???!!!! First year teaching salaries weren't awesome. I think my take home was 1850$ for the first couple years..hence the living at my parents.

Teaching at St. Mary's was a great way to start my career; I was working with teachers that I grew up with and I was already familiar with my students. In my two years at St. Mary's, I directed two musicals (Godspell & Into the Woods), coached rugby and volleyball and taught different classes each semester.  Being a new teacher isn't easy.  But I loved it and I had the time to put in to it.
Halfway through my first year there, I met Dan at a Volleyball tournament.
I was also teaching his brothers.
No point telling you the rest of the story, you know how it goes.  
What you maybe don't know is that at that point Dan was still in University, finishing off his Computer Science degree, so I decided to take the leap and move to Saskatoon to be his sugar momma.
I was offered a job at Saskatoon French School (where Willis currently goes to school) as an elementary teacher.  My first position was a grade 7 homeroom (loved the kids, hated teaching Math and Science).  Then my following two years there were doing the English Language Arts program for grades 5-8.  I probably could have stayed with that forever, I love teaching languages and growing readers, but there was an opening at a high school and I felt the urge to get back into the areas I had always wanted to be teaching.  
So I got the job at Holy Cross High School and taught there for 7 years or so, having 2 years off for 2 mat leaves. I loved my job at Cross, I loved the school for it's strong academics, wonderful students, great sports teams and rich faith life.  However, after Lucia was born, I knew I had to make some changes to my life.
You know that feeling when you just feel like you're half-assing everything you're doing?  I didn't feel like I was being the best mom/teacher/wife that I knew I could be because I wasn't putting myself 100% into any of my roles.

So after a year of almost losing my mind full-time teaching and being the master puppeteer of home life, I decided to drop to 3/4 time, which was lovely.  The first year I did that I taught periods 1-3 and had the afternoons off.  The second year I had periods 2,3,4 and it was good too.
But I was still juggling like mad, having increasing anxiety attacks and just not feeling like I was doing a good job at anything.
So the decision was made for me to be done teaching and to be a SAHM.
But then there was an opportunity for a mat leave in Cyber School, covering Christian Ethics 10,20 and 30 part time (all in French).  I pondered it for a nano-second and then jumped on it and I'm so glad I did.
This change has completely renewed my love of my profession.  And maybe it was just a change that I needed, but it feels great to be excited every day and to even want to go to PD again.
I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I can either hold on to some classes or maybe get in on some other level in Cyber after this year.  I like it that much!

Oops, this post was supposed to be about what it's like being a cyber teacher.
Well......I can do my corrections where I want (did some while in New York, do some in random coffee shops, did some while waiting for appointments while on my phone) and I can correct whenever I want.  Mostly I spend about 2 hours (depending on assignments coming in and number of kids working) answering emails, figuring out problems or correcting exams and assignments.  Everything is done online and then marks go directly to the grader and then they're done.  No report cards to even fill out.
Seriously, this is a dream job for me.
While I do miss the face to face time with those wonderfully, beautiful kids I have come to know over the years, I don't miss the difficult kids and the tension they would bring to my life.  
When analyzing the good, the bad and the ugly with this job change, I can't really come up with anything that doesn't point to this being a good thing for me.  I'm techy, I love learning new things online...even some basic HTML (which if you've noticed the newish blog design, I've been teaching myself)
Also? A couple other huge perks is that it gives me the ability to drop off/pick up Willis at school, spend the day with my sweet Lucia and I haven't been sick yet. Normally, I would have been sick about 3 times at this point.

I guess the best way to look at this new job is to see what the hubby says.  Here's his pro/con list:

  • Deena is much more fluid, not living a life where a bell goes off every 37.5 minutes.  This meshes MUCH better with my ever-changing schedule.
  • Deena is still active in a profession.  Despite a rough work environment the past several years, I see she loves growing her students and this lets her continue doing so.
  • No more being locked into vacation time only in busy crowd seasons. 
  •  If I need to be on the road for more than a couple weeks at a time I can bring the family out with me.  Editor's note: Please get some work in Toronto....during ball season....or even Raptor's season, I'm starting to like basketball.
  • While Deena’s working, she isn’t spending / re-decorating / crafting. HA! Have you not noticed how many times our furniture upstairs has been re-arranged??
  • Lots of the flexibility of a career-mom (sick kids anyone?), but still get a healthy dose of interaction with the 9-5 world.

  • The internet service where we live isn’t great.  Kids probably learn more swear words during internet outage periods than during school on the playground.  Or more than hanging out with an oil rig crew for that matter. Pssshhhh..not from me. I never swear.
  • I think Deena is under the impression that having a paycheque is an entitlement to shopping at will.  Um, ya. I still have to look good for my virtual students?
  • Supper is at 5:00.  I don’t follow how this works, but when I’m in Saskatoon my job goes till 5:00, yet I’m in the doghouse by being late for supper.  Well, at least you got that figured out.

Who knows what next year will hold for me professionally, but I do know that I am glad, grateful and pleased with this change and all that I have learned with it!

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  1. Very interesting - I loved reading how you got to where you are, career wise. Especially enjoyed the pros and cons from your hubby. Have a great week!

  2. I can totally identify with about everything you said here. I miss the classroom, teaching and students. I miss actually having influence in children's lives and watching them learn and mature. I still feel the time pressure going off for me all the time due to the structure of classes. I still always feel rushed and under pressure from the clock. I have been thinking about teaching online. I think it would be a good fit for me. Who knows?

    1. I think it would be a good fit for you!

  3. LOVED this.....Hilarious!!! Glad that you are enjoying yourself so much!! I need that shirt. :)

    1. I don't think Alison will have that shirt in the challenge. Although maybe she should

  4. Oh, I LOVE Dan's last con. That one definitely made me giggle. I agree with Katie. The shirt rocks!


Have a lovely day!