February Teacher of the Month
High School Biology teacher Christina Randall admits she was blushing when she had to talk about herself. “You probably think she is the most shy person,” she laughed while describing herself. Her reserved demeanor didn’t last long when she spoke of her role at University View Academy. “I love science, and most people don’t,” Randall exclaimed. “I try to make students understand this is something you can do. It’s not scary,” Randall added. She takes the fear out of it by relating science to things the students know and use on a day-to-day basis. Randall says she tries to “…meet students where they are and bring them where you want them to go.”
She’s in her third year at UVA and beginning her tenth year of teaching. Her future may include working towards a Ph.D. in Secondary Science Education to compliment her master’s degree. Randall says her favorite part of being at University View Academy is she likes everyone she works with. “It makes such a difference. There is no negative energy,” she stated. She boasted about the collaboration among teachers and staff. Plus, the support from the leadership team and how that helps her thrive. “I like to be a team player,” she added. Randall says the environment allows her more time to help students.
She says another advantage of being at UVA is connecting better with students. Even though it’s an online program, students are not seen every day like in a brick and mortar school. “It surprised me. You can really make a special connection,” as she related a story involving one of her students at graduation. The student dragged her parents the wrong way down the escalator to take a picture with Randall. “It was really sweet,” as Randall spoke of the lasting impression she must have made on the student.
It would be difficult not to take one of Randall’s classes without it having an impact. She starts each live-session with what she describes as a “goofy song” aligned with the lesson of the day. She admits surfing YouTube to find songs that apply. She asks students if the song fits and gets replies of “hilarious” or “ridiculous” and adds it’s “All in good fun.” Then it’s congratulating students on a birthday or talking about upcoming field trips before getting down to the business of the biology lesson.
Then Randall fell back on the theme of being a shy person. “I’m pretty simple,” she said matter-of-factly.