VIPTeach Fellow Feature: Stephanie Horton

The VIPTeach Fellows have been immersed in virtual teaching, professional development, meaningful exchanges with guest speakers, and Capstone Projects to support their communities. Over the next few months, we will highlight the amazing educators of the 2020-21 VIPTeach Fellowship inaugural cohort.

Stephanie Horton is a 2020-21 VIPTeach Global Online Teaching Fellow, the inaugural cohort. Stephanie has a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and Music. Currently, in addition to teaching English online, she is homeschooling her children, creating fun learning experiences and adventures for them, and tutoring local children in her community of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Here’s more about Stephanie in her own words.

Tell us about your educational background.

I graduated with a B.A. in elementary education and focus in music from Southeastern College in 2009. Then I continued my educational training with a 120-hour online Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Certification in 2017. I plan to pursue a Master’s in Education with a focus in English as a Second Language (ESL).

Tell us about your professional background.

I have been a home-based educator since 2010. I officially began homeschooling my children in 2015. In 2017, I started teaching English online with VIPKid and have loved being an online educator for the last four years. In 2020, it was my honor to be selected for the inaugural cohort of VIPTeach Fellows. I have also led women’s studies, children’s ministry, and helped with international ministries for more than fifteen years.

In your opinion, what are some of the benefits of online learning?

You instantly have access to personalized learning right at your fingertips in the comfort of your home. The beauty of online learning is if you can dream it, it’s possible.

What is your advice for other educators who are new to online teaching? 

Keep pursuing advice from other educators. Make connections with others in your field. Don’t go at it alone. Community is your secret weapon in growing as an online educator. If possible, find a mentor who can walk this journey with you.

How do you use technology in the classroom?

I like to use Google Slides and Manycam in my online classroom. In-person, I also use Google slides, YouTube educational videos, and educational resources to add to the content of the material covered.

What is the title of your Capstone Project?

Building Bridges ESL Consulting with Libraries

Whom are you serving, and what do you hope to accomplish?

English Language Learners and families of the Tuscaloosa School Systems. I hope our team will produce a guide for how to help libraries with an ESL storytime.

What do you believe are some of the challenges we face with regard to achieving educational equity?

Time and resources. Partnering with the Tuscaloosa School System in my community in Alabama for the VIPTeach Fellowship Capstone Project and seeing the longing they have for their students to succeed inspires me. I have noticed that two of their biggest challenges are having such large projects and not enough time to do it all. Having the resources they need to get the work done is also a challenge. Our schools desperately need ESL specialists and teachers who are willing to put in hours, even after hours. 

What has been your biggest takeaway from your VIPTeach Fellowship experience?

The relationships with the VIPTeach team, cohort, and specifically my mentor have been the greatest asset of the Fellowship. I have learned how to integrate more digital tools in my classroom.