A day in the life of an online high school teacher

Festive Fun In The Online Classroom 1
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Posted on: 21 Dec 2020

When I moved to the bush I always wondered how I would fit my lifestyle around my passion for teaching.

I spent a few months teaching at a local school but I just knew that it wasn’t the right place for me. 

Hi, I’m Angelica Moller. An online high school English teacher in South Africa. 

My lifestyle isn’t glamorous, I simply spend a lot of time moving around between Kwazulu-Natal, Cape Town, and Gauteng. I consider ‘home’ to be in three different provinces which are both amazing but also difficult to build a life around. 

This is where Valenture Institute, the high school I work for comes in. I didn’t realise it at the time, and this opportunity wasn’t one I went looking for but rather one that was presented to me, but it was what I needed. Especially in 2020.

So what does the life of an online teacher look like? 

Every day my alarm goes off at 7. I jump out of bed and make a beeline for the coffee pot.  

This is followed shortly by breakfast. 

I settle into my online classroom space at about 07:30 (the spare room has been converted) where I have my laptop and a second-screen waiting for my attention. 

The day starts with a barrage of emails which I slowly sort through and categorise into levels of importance. 

Next, is to have a look at my to-do list and tackle the things that I could not get to the day before. 

The 08:00 - 08:30 time slot is usually taken up by either Assembly or a morning meeting with the faculty lead and other staff members. 

By 08:30 the meetings finish and I go over my lessons for the day to ensure that I have all the correct files and documents that will be needed in class. 

09:30 is usually when my first class starts and I dive into the world of English teaching. 

Classes usually last between 45 minutes and an hour. After each class, I make a note to get up and stretch my legs.

(Perfect time for a tea break)

Before my next class, I do my best to squeeze in some admin as well as grading that would be due that week. 

Sometimes, however, this does not always happen and this time is better served as a chance to get outside and walk the dogs or to run down to the nearest coffee shop and grab your favourite coffee.

By 12:00 it’s time for my next class where the world of English teaching awaits us again.

After this session, I sneak lunch in around about this time. (Teachers have superpowers when it comes to eating lunch, we can finish our lunch in five minutes while doing several other tasks.)

Between 13:00 - 15:00, there is, more often than not, a meeting of some sort that needs to be attended (sometimes I go from one meeting, straight into another one). 

Between 16:00 and 17:00 I make myself available for office hours where students can schedule a time to meet with me one-on-one to tackle any academic questions or challenges that they might have. 

If I have no students for office hours this is another great opportunity to catch up on admin and/or get up and head outside if I didn’t get to it earlier in the day. 

Then it’s time to really relax and take a break before it all starts again the next day!

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