By Carissa Davis
Jennifer Schlaudt (Literature, '07)
“I get to be a part of my family’s daily lives while instilling a Christian worldview in passionate young students all over the country and the world,” said Schlaudt (Literature, ’07). “And I’m doing it for Patrick Henry College!”
Schlaudt worked as a classroom teacher for the online PHC Preparatory Academy, which provides Advanced Placement (AP) classes to high school students, during the 2010-2011 academic school year. She taught AP English Literature & Composition to 39 high school students, under the guidance of Dr. Steven Hake, PHC’s Professor of Literature.
While Schlaudt was unsure of what God had planned for her life when she graduated from PHC, she knew one thing: she had no intention of teaching professionally. But when a friend needed a writing tutor for her son and asked if Schlaudt if she would be interested, she agreed, and was surprised to find how much she enjoyed teaching.
“The more I worked with him, the more I enjoyed my role,” Schlaudt said. “Soon I was tutoring other students as well. Word of a writing teacher spreads quickly in home school circles!”
Returning to PHC for commencement in 2009, she ran into Dr. Michael Farris, who encouraged her to apply for a position with the new PHC Preparatory Academy. It was an intriguing proposition, since she herself had spent five semesters as a distance learning student.
“As an online student myself, I had a heart for distance learners. I had also taken AP courses in high school and understood the expectations fairly well. The opportunity to combine these two things sounded ideal.”
Schlaudt sent in her resume, and in May, 2010 she was offered a teaching position.
“I execute the day-to-day business of the course,” she explains, “overseeing the students’ coursework, grading their assignments, leading a weekly class in the virtual classroom, and handling lots of email correspondence.”
Schlaudt spends two to three hours a day corresponding with students, parents and faculty about class. She also prepares a weekly lecture, and grades papers, practice exams and discussion posts.
“For a class of 39, that’s a good bit of grading!” She said.
The experience has helped Schlaudt more deeply appreciate life on the teaching side of education.
“I had no idea what a challenge bulk grading can be or how critical time management is,” she said. “I’ve also learned a lot about kindness, firmness, and grace. A teacher walks a fine line among these. It shows me my need for God’s wisdom and reminds me of the mercy He has shown in my life.”
Altogether, PHC Preparatory Academy “Master Teachers” who hold graduate degrees are responsible for the overall courses in each subject, while “Classroom Teachers” such as Schlaudt manage much of the daily class work. Other alumni also serving with PHC Prep for the upcoming school year include Aubrey Heki (Government, ‘10), Sarah Hengemuhle (Government, ’04), Joanna Main (Government, ’05), and Juli Schuttger (CLA, ’09).