Navigating the Digital Landscape-The Perspective of Emily Snyder, Virtual Teacher

As many students are changing their minds about learning virtual to start the year, Emily Snyder moves forward with instruction for USD 266 students from a variety of place in her home.


Photo by Tess Bryant-Stucky

Ms. Snyder gives a thumbs up at her new virtual workspace. Snyder co-sponsors the Maize South pep club, even without actually seeing students in person.

Tess Bryant-Stucky, Bullseye Staff Reporter

Q: Do you prefer this new method of teaching or would you prefer in person and why?

A: I feel like I am flexible in my teaching style, so either in person or online are fine by me. I took the majority of my college classes online, and always preferred this learning style. It matches what my needs were as a student, and I think I take that same mindset to my current teaching role. I miss seeing my kids faces and being in the building and feeling that energy, but I honestly really like the “work from home” atmosphere. It’s comfortable, and I feel like I get a lot more done here at home.

Q: What are some difficulties that you had to face when starting this new method of teaching? How did you fix it?

A: My timing on how long it takes to complete assignments is way off it seems like. It is hard to get a gage on how long it might take a lesson. Something that was taught in the building may take longer because of all of the distractions. I’m finding ways to adjust and adapt on the fly. I also have to find new ways to interact with my students. It’s getting interesting and I love incorporating our homes into the bell ringers. Like we will do a “quick grab” show and tell, or scavenger hunts in the home. It’s been really fun!

Q: Where is your new “classroom”? (do you have an office? Is it just at your kitchen table?)

A: I try to teach from a different room or space daily. My technical office is in my basement, but I like to show the students a different view daily. We are teaching and learning in our homes, I want to embrace it!

Q: Are online classes easier for teachers to stay organized? Why or why not?

A: I think they are easier to stay organized. I keep a very scheduled day. I know when and where I have to be at all times. I was a lucky teacher who has taught this content before so I wrote all of my lesson plans for the full semester prior to the start of school. Now I just get to roll out content and teach. It’s really nice!

Q: What’s your favorite part about online teaching? Least favorite?

A: Favorite part is being at home. It’s personal for me, and I love to bring that into my teaching. I like getting up and just logging in for work, instead of driving 20 minutes one way through traffic. I find that I am way more relaxed now!

Least favorite part…I miss my co-teachers. They are truly my dear friends. I feel like I miss out on things and inside jokes since I am not in the building with them this year. I also miss my in-building students. It was tough to know that I might not see some of them for the entire year!

Q: How much more time are you spending on planning then if you were in person?

A: Maybe not planning, but working…it’s a huge difference. I work non stop answer emails, troubleshooting problems, and helping kids and parents understand the process. I’ll teach a class and log off to find 30-40 emails that need immediate assistance. It’s just a faster pace working environment. I was not prepared for that!