Sterling Academy Blog

What are the teachers like at an online school?

Posted by Sterling Staff on Dec 31, 2014 7:40:00 AM

Are teachers at an online school different from those in the classroom? Generally, no – an accredited online high school will normally employ teachers certified in their subject areas just as a brick-and-mortar school would.  However, while online teachers have typically taught in a classroom, the way they teach online is quite different.

Sterling Academy instructor Laura Boyle sums up that difference this way: “It is a much more professional mentor type role.”  In a classroom, the teacher has the responsibility to control – control behavior, control the pace of learning, etc.  In an online school like Sterling Academy, where students work at their own pace, the role of the teacher is instead, as noted above, a mentor.  Students are responsible for their own study schedule, taking initiative to learn on their own. Their relationship with the teacher is one in which the teacher assists her students with their goals of learning and course completion by working with the students when they need help.  Teachers also provide a boost of inspiration – or prodding, if necessary – to encourage students to stay on target toward their goals.

Nicole Grant, an instructor at Sterling Academy, says she can do what she loves to do – teach – without any distractions and disruptions. In a traditional setting, the school itself interrupts learning with assemblies, fire drills and so on. Classes are sometimes too crowded, students misbehave and teachers have to move the entire group along at a pace that’s often too slow or too fast for some individuals.

Online, she says, “I can work individually with students and modify my teaching according to their strengths or weaknesses.” Teachers are very approachable, which encourages students to ask questions rather than feeling intimidated.

Online TeachersStudents are more likely to seek help when they know it’s perfectly acceptable

While some high school age students are confident enough to easily talk with teachers, many don’t feel comfortable for any number of reasons. Nicole Grant recalls instances as a classroom teacher where students would avoid asking questions rather than “bother” the teacher or would remain silent rather than risk asking questions in front of other students.

The physical separation inherent in an online environment can actually help some students bridge that gap, making teachers a resource they are more likely to seek out. At Sterling Academy, teachers provide their phone numbers so students can call or text to ask for assistance. Students can still ask parents or older siblings for help, but their “real” teachers are there for them, too. It’s a different kind of relationship, one that supports far greater success for many types of students.

Unlike some online schools, teacher assistance is available at no extra charge for Sterling students. It is simply part of our philosophy of going the extra mile to ensure students succeed.

Sterling Academy teachers are the essence of diversity

Instructors at Sterling Academy hold a wide array of professional credentials -- certifications and endorsements in their subject areas as well as elementary or secondary education and special learning disabilities.

They bring a wealth of teaching experience in public and parochial high schools, colleges and online schools, working as private tutors, with Advanced Placement and honors students. They hold advanced degrees and have had plenty of “real world” experience in business and the arts.

Working at an online school can have distinct advantages, because teachers enjoy the same scheduling flexibility their students have. And the online high school also has a distinct advantage, because it can hire the best and best-fitting instructors for the school regardless of their physical location. Students can be located anywhere, and so can teachers.

Learn more about our teachers and school

To learn about the teachers at Sterling Academy, visit our About Us page, where you can read about their educational background, teaching credentials and experience, and even their hobbies.  You’ll see that our teachers have impressive qualifications.  Our teachers are dedicated to helping their students succeed. By being able to help students one-on-one due to the online environment, they can do what they love – teach – and the students get the benefits of this productive arrangement.

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Topics: online high school, Teacher interaction

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