PS: Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
My name is Alexis Schaeffer. I am an army brat who spent most of my childhood living in Germany and England. I taught high school special education in Williamsburg, Virginia for one year before moving to Loudoun. I have been an elementary special education teacher in Loudoun for 10 years. For the past four years, my friend, Julia and I have been Volunteer Event Organizers for the St. Baldrick’s. This foundation raises money for childhood cancer by soliciting donations by having people shave their heads or cut their hair. As a ‘head shaver” myself, I was able to raise money for this incredible organization..
Why did you decide to become an educator?
I have never wanted to be anything else besides an educator. My mom is a teacher. I grew up going to her classrooms and fell in love with it. Most of the women in my family are educators also. It seems to run in my blood.
What inspires you as a teacher? How do you inspire your students?
I am inspired by my students every day. The look on a child’s face when they are able to “get” what we have been working on is one of the most exciting feelings in the world. It is important that my students know what they are capable of I always tell them, that I know learning can be difficult for them. My job is to give them strategies to make it easier. If they try their best, I am happy!
If you could change anything about your industry, what would it be?
I would change the Standards of Learning (SOL) tests. Unfortunately, the tests are not made so that every student can be successful. I would change it so that we assess students on their academic growth from the beginning of the year to the end of the year use a range of assessments.
You deal with parents on a daily basis. What type of parent makes your job easier?
I have been very fortunate to work with supportive parents. It is helpful to have open communication between the home and school environment.
Your thoughts on online learning?
I think that online learning can be a beneficial tool for people. There are so many resources online that offer many different ways to facilitate and enhance learning.
What are some outside resources you can recommend to students to enhance their classroom learning?
There are some great online resources, such as xtramath.com and ixl.com. Tumblebooks and Reading A-Z are great for reading tools. Brainpop and Brainpop Jr. have mini videos about many different subject areas. Schools also have great online tools on their websites. I would encourage people to go to lcps.org for resources.