May Teacher of the Month
Lynn Wesley had quite the journey to becoming a High School Science Teacher at University View Academy. She has a degree in chemistry from UNO and worked five years at the New Orleans Police Department Crime Lab. Then, after getting her master’s degree in Genetics, she worked at the Genetics Lab at Tulane University. Criticism of public education is what Mrs. Wesley says spurred her into becoming a teacher. “I’m one of those people who say if you’re not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. Don’t complain if you’re not willing to do anything,” she explained.
Mrs. Wesley is in her 12th year of teaching, her first at UVA. But she didn’t have much of a learning curve since she previously worked for a competing virtual school and did substitute teaching at UVA. Or, as she put it, “Last semester was figuring it out; this semester is making it prettier and more user friendly.” Her use of videos goes a long way in making her lessons memorable. She showed how science experiments can be done with everyday household supplies and used a cell phone to film sediment and erosion lessons. “That’s the beauty of online,” Mrs. Wesley stated.
She also said she believes she can help her students more at UVA than in a brick-and-mortar classroom. “Here, the students have my phone number. They can call and ask for help,” she explained. The students can also make an appointment during her office hours. Her live sessions round out the contact. In a brick-and-mortar school, students would have to stay after school to get additional help. It isn’t possible if they don’t have a ride home. Mrs. Wesley also bounces ideas off her 15-year-old twins to get a student’s perspective. She said she knows she can engage her students if her daughters give positive feedback. Getting students to trust her goes a long way in keeping them engaged. Mrs. Wesley said she approaches her students like family. “I consider them all my kids,” she admitted.
Mrs. Wesley says she is active in her church, but mainly her life revolves around her three children and a niece outside of school. Girl Scouts, musical theater, and karate lessons occupy their time and travel. As for her future, Mrs. Wesley said she would like to teach college-level classes in high school where students earn dual enrollment credit.