VIPTeach Global Online Teaching Fellowship

The Fellowship Wrap-Up.

As the VIPTeach Global Online teaching Fellowship comes to a close for the 2022 Spring Season, this group of fascinating people have met for one more time, to discuss education, online teaching and learning, their own bag of tools and tricks, and gather for community as teachers.  We have asked the Fellows to reflect on their time in the fellowship and give us their insight to the world of education that we live in. The professional learning communities we have formed will not just end here, but are sure to be felt for years to come in the lives of the Fellows and those they have impacted.  Thank you to our guest speaker Stephanie Eaton from Proximity Learning for joining us in February for our Tech Roundtable! 

We asked the Fellows to answer the following questions: 

What have you learned and gained from being a part of this experience? 

What is one piece of advice for a future Fellow or educator?

The VIPTeach Fall 2021 Cohort teaching fellowship fostered my love of learning and allowed me to further explore professional development opportunities. 

My participation in frequent educational, technological workshops enhanced the online classroom experience for me and my students. Teacher peers taught me about the latest online educational programs, software, and interactive technologies that I was able to share in my weekly tutoring sessions with students from other school districts. I was amazed to see the personal growth not only within my students, but within myself. 

The partnerships formed within this cohort of teaching fellows broadened my horizons and allowed me to make professional and personal connections in which I otherwise would not have had the opportunity. The VIPTeach program allowed those relationships to blossom.

I will always treasure the support we shared within this cohort, and I plan on continuing to foster these relationships. 

“The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.” ~Mark Van Doren

Thank you for the experience! Until we meet again…

Jessica Sharockman, ‘21-’22

The VIPTeach Fellowship taught me a lot about the state of education in the US and the struggles some teachers are faced with in trying to deliver quality education to their students. I learned about many interesting and useful EdTech tools to aid in online teaching effectiveness and have recommended many of them to fellow teachers around the world. I had the opportunity to meet many educators I would not have otherwise had the opportunity to work with and learn from. The Book Club also introduced me to new concepts and ways of thinking about learning that I previously hadn’t.

Though I cannot offer a single piece of advice to future educators because the teaching field is so complex and unique to each educator, I would recommend investing the time and energy into learning a few key EdTech tools to help with online delivery of lessons. The pandemic changed education delivery and taking the time to learn some effective and useful EdTech tools (that are no doubt not taught in teachers college) will help reduce stress and anxiety in teaching and it will help educators deliver more engaging lessons online when the need arises. I would also encourage educators to remember that we live in a globalized, connected world and it is important to encourage students to consider perspectives and experiences from outside their own communities. 

Alex Weatherhead, Fellow ’21-’22

The Fellowship has taught me so much about communication and organization.  As an educational administrator, I am driven by ideas and excited to hear new perspectives from my fellow educators. The PLC model is not new, but it is imperative for teachers to have other teachers to work closely with, bounce ideas, and get feedback.   As I wanted to develop the format of the fellowship, I was given the chance to put on my project in real time and continue the Fellowship this year. I found myself working with a dedicated team of teacher leaders who made the year unforgettable!  Thank you from the bottom of my heart to my PLC: Jackie, Kate, Susan, and Elayne for sticking with me to finish out the year, and to all the mentors for giving their time and efforts to help the Fellows. 

Future educators: I hope that you have the opportunity to develop your own personal learning community.   Keep your mentors and advisors close all throughout your career.  They will help guide you, laugh with you, cry with you, and see the love you have for your students and your job with you.   

Jolie DeVries, Fellow & Mentor ‘20-’21, Project Manager ‘21-’22

It has been a joy to meet fellow educators, and it really helped me to reignite my  passion to never stop learning.   Through the Fellowship, I was introduced to many new tools, ways of doing things and topics that I had never spoken about.   It really showed me that we all have many ways that we can and should continue to grow.   To fellow educators, continue to always accept the opportunity to grow and bond with people in your profession, you never know where it will lead you.

Elayne Lemieux, Fellow & Mentor ‘20-’22

It has been an absolute honor to have served on the VIPTeach Fellowship for the past 2 years. The first year of the fellowship I was able to give a lot more and met lifelong friends and learning partners. I love that I was able to be part of the Rural Education Project and also experience so many wonderful, life changing speakers. This year, unfortunately, life got in the way and I was not able to give us much but I will never forget the cohort and the many wonderful people that were a part of it. 

For fellow educators – the world is small and the possibilities are huge. Set your sights high and never stop learning.  Thank you VIPTeach for this amazing opportunity. I look forward to seeing where everyone’s journey will take them. 

Tamara Thovtrup, Fellow & Mentor ‘20-’22

As a member of the first cohort of the VIPTeach Online Global Teaching Fellowship, my expectations were met and exceeded.  We were given access to many resources and had many workshops and learning opportunities, including ISTE and presenting at the Asia Society of Northern California’s Education Summit and at VIPKid’s Journey Conference.  I joined colleagues to create and execute the Capstone Project which led to the full-cohort project during the second cohort.  This project focused on tutoring students who were falling behind due to remote learning during the pandemic.  We worked hard, but we, also, had fun.  We planned and celebrated holidays, met outside of meetings and were even interviewed for YouTube

 (Loretta 🙂 ).  I met and worked with amazing educators and our leaders for both cohorts demonstrated compassion, respect, knowledge, resourcefulness and guided us on our journeys.  I was honored to be a member of two cohorts and on the Advisory Board of the second. The members of each cohort had so much to offer and I’ve learned so much from them and have made some great friends along the way (the sign of any successful project).  As for future fellows, I’d recommend taking full advantage of every resource available to you, learn from your colleagues and have fun. 

Thank you to everyone who made this journey amazing!

Susan M. Landaira, Fellow and Mentor ‘20-’22

It was a very enjoyable experience talking with other educators and learning about all the different ways each teacher uses their skills in differing environments.  I was exposed to so many different online teaching tools that can enhance the classroom experience of my students, and so many talented teachers adapting technology in myriad ways.  I will miss the opportunity to delve further into the exchanges from these relationships, and learn some of the technologies with more support than on my own.  Thank you for the time and effort you put in Jolie to bring things together and help us function.  Thank you Alex Weatherhead for your amazing versatility!

What have you learned and gained from being a part of this experience? As part of the VIPTeach Fellowship program, I have learned that there are some amazing teachers out there who have so much passion and heart to teach others. I think the most important thing about teaching beyond the given (students), is that collaboration is the key to refueling passion and the love of learning.  Collaboration is more than just talking with fellow teachers.  It is learning and growing together as educators. I have learned so many incredible new techniques and have lifelong friends that will be a part of my life forever, whether I ever  meet them in person or not.  Although I was not a part of the first cohort and came in during the second.  I still grew as an educator because of others’ passion and love for teaching new things. 

What is one piece of advice for a future Fellow or educator? One piece of advice I would give future educators is that collaboration is something we should do even beyond our own schools or programs.  Collaboration is the key to making our education system great again.  It brings us together in ways beyond just “our” curriculum, “our” system, and more importantly “my beliefs.”  Allow others to help beyond the classroom.  Reach out to other educators in a place you do not live, you will find so much more out there to learn.  My last piece of advice is to never stop growing.  When you stop growing, it is time to hang up the shingle of teaching and find a new passion. 

Jennifer Rice, Fellow ‘21-’22