HOLTON, Kan. (KSNT) — Michelle Evans teaches high school special education classes from the comfort of her own home. Evans is a teacher for the online Kansas Connections Academy.
It’s is a K-12 tuition-free public school serving about 400 students in Kansas. The online school is operated in partnership with the Elkhart School District.
“It’s a virtual school which is something that, before I got into this job, I hadn’t heard much about or done much with,” said Evans.
Evans said she spent nearly two decades in education, teaching mostly in the traditional school setting. She said there are advantages to the online setting.
“There is not as many distractions,” said Evans. “I’ve set up my own environment and it’s pretty much distraction free and it’s amazing how much i actually get done in a day as compared to a traditional brick and mortar (school).”
However, Evans said the virtual setting is not without its challenges. While she said technology is sometimes an issues, but the biggest challenge is getting to know students on a more personal level.
Evans said she uses webcam to talk to student during her class times, and talks frequently to students and parents on the phone. She also said the Kansas Connections Academy hosts field trips and face-to-face meet ups with students and their teachers.
“I actually had an opportunity to meet with a student and their parent at a coffee house in Topeka,” said Evans. “It takes a little bit more to get to see them in person, and little bit more to build that relationship. It’s still doable, it’s just different.”
Despite the challenges, Evans said she enjoys the online setting.
“It’s kind of exciting, it feels like it’s a little bit more in the future. I feel a lot more cutting edge here in the virtual world,” said Evans.