For the first time in PA Virtual’s history, we have hired one of our alumni as a teacher! Former student Sigrid Gulbis was hired this past summer as a High School Math Academic Support Teacher.
Ms. Gulbis entered the first grade during PA Virtual’s second year in business and graduated four years ago. This past May, Gulbis graduated Summa Cum Laude from DeSales University with a bachelor’s of science in math. “It’s interesting to see many teachers who instructed me are still at the school and now are my coworkers,” Gulbis said.
When Ms. Gulbis first enrolled with PA Virtual, the school did not yet conduct live online classes for the elementary grades, but rather students and parents would call in to communicate with the teachers. So, it’s interesting for Ms. Gulbis to see how the technology at PA Virtual has evolved over the years, and she now is able to see it from a whole new perspective.
“By the time I reached high school, PA Virtual had developed live classes in which we had much interaction through whiteboards, chat, and videos,” Gulbis said. “That enabled me to now see both sides, and I am able to bring in my experiences as a high school student and what I am trying to do as a teacher.”
Ms. Gulbis appreciated the ability to work at her own pace while she attended PA Virtual. It made school more exciting for her and contributed to her decision to start a career in education. “The flexibility I enjoyed in my elementary and middle years helped me to love school,” Gulbis continued. “I realized that I loved learning so much I decided to become a teacher.”
And though she is only a little more than two months into the job, she says she feels at home. “So many teachers are willing to share advice and documents with me and tricks and tips they have learned over the ages,” she said. “I benefit from being a former student and having fellow teachers help me to put it into perspective.”
The real excitement started after Labor Day when the students returned. “I appreciate my students,” she said. “There are so many good questions that arise, so many good answers. It’s fun to see these students who are really shining. I encourage them to have fun as they work as class together. I also get feedback from them by giving them an exit ticket asking what I could do better. So many students are invested in the class, always interested and always raising their hands.”
Sigrid recently finished up her assignment as a long term substitute and has begun her role as High School Math Academic Support Teacher. She is excited and looking forward to new challenges, even though she’ll miss the classes and students she’s gotten to know in her first few weeks. The students said they will miss her too.
Interested in learning more about what it's like to teach at PA Virtual? Check out our interview with Elementary School teacher, Mrs. Steen!