Full-Time Virtual Language Arts Teacher Joins MHS Staff
In the quiet closet of the Flex Room, Megan Fink, language arts teacher, answers emails as the Study Hall passes behind her door.
Fink is new to MHS and teaches about 115 online students, 35 of them from MHS.
Fink is one of four teachers at MHS who is teaching students through an online asynchronous schedule. Catie Gray, Spanish 1 teacher; Thomas Cook, Spanish 2 teacher; and Stephanie McDaniel, Art Fundamentals teacher, are teaching online part time, while Fink is the only fully online teacher for MHS.
Although this is Fink’s first year on the MHS staff, this is not her first time teaching online students. Until 2020, she worked at the Individual Learning Center (ILC) in RSD, but the ILC closed this year. Knowing that a lot of her students from the ILC were transferring over to the RSD online, she said taking the virtual LA position gave her a way to stay connected to them.
¨We’re asynchronous now, so my students pretty much get to work whenever they want,¨ Fink said.
If you don’t build relationships with your students, then there is nothing going on in your classroom — it is the most important thing a teacher can do.”
— Megan Fink, language arts teacher
Shelley Willot, Assistant Superintendent Learning and Support Services, said this year’s online schedule isn’t too different from last year except this year students are asynchronous.
“This affords students the opportunity to learn and revisit lessons anytime, anywhere,” Willott said. “Students still have a teacher available to support them and answer their questions. This does require the student to be motivated to work out a schedule that works best for them.”
Taylor Litteken, Study Hall teacher, is Finks roommate and said Fink deserves to have a decluttered space of her own instead of a space filled with supplies and belongings previous staff members left in the office.
¨If they would come and clean out the cabinets, then take the belongings they have left, she could put a table in there and have a space more adequate for teaching and to put her belongings,¨ Taylor said.
Although her office space is smaller than a normal classroom, Fink said she likes it. She has decorated it with different colored lights, posters and more. She also doesn’t mind sharing her office with classes in the Flex Room because she gets to socialize with others throughout the day.
Fink said she has found that online students are more open and personal with her because they don’t have to see her face-to-face. Even if it is online, Fink said building relationships with her students is vital.
¨If you don’t build relationships with your students then there is nothing going on in your classroom,” Fink said. “It is the most important thing a teacher can do.”
One of Fink´s students, Owen DeArmond, said he enjoys Fink’s class because it allows him to have time to focus on his passions of coding, music, and film.
¨I would say it’s actually the best language arts class I’ve ever had and not just because of the grade,” DeArmond said. “The grade is only 60 percent of the reason it’s the best; the 40 percent is because I feel like I’m able to have more freedom in what I write.”