Name: Jennifer Casto
Occupation: Online High School Math Teacher
Briefly describe your job and why it’s unique:
I work for the State Dept of Education with VirtualSC, the online program that offers courses to South Carolina middle and high schoolers to supplement their regular school coursework. The program is offered to all SC students, so I’ve had a chance to teach students from a variety of areas, backgrounds, and school experiences. I’ve had the opportunity to teach adult ed students, students who are taking a break from “regular” school to pursue elite sports, students struggling with medical issues, students struggling with mental health, and students from parts of the state I’ve never visited. I am currently working on revising and rewriting some of our courses. This is fun because I get to put friends and family members into word problems.
What tool do you keep with you at all times?
Erasable pens. Pilot Frixion erasable pens in all the colors have changed my planning and editing life.
Why did you choose to become a CoCreate member?
When I stepped away from the brick and mortar setting to teach online, it was a tough transition in a lot of ways. I enjoyed the flexibility, additional time with my family, and the new challenges, but I really missed “my people.” I found it difficult to stay energized when I was sitting by myself in front of a computer. CoCreate opened just as I went from part-time to full-time teaching online, so I knew it would help give me the energy and focus I was looking for, and be the perfect way to start off strong in my new position.
How have you benefited personally and/or professionally since joining CoCreate?
I am a person who works best when I can “think out loud” and brainstorm ideas with another person. CoCreate offers me a supportive community that is willing to listen to me think through things, like the details of an algebra word problem, and break out of “perfection paralysis” and just get things done. On a personal level, it has helped my sanity to be able to have a little more separation of work and home life. When I’m at CoCreate, my brain is free to focus on work!
Anything else we should know about you or CoCreate?
The space is awesome. I love to try a desk one day, a couch the next, and take a break on the swings, but it’s the people that make being a member of CoCreate invaluable. It’s a “come as you are, but leave even better” kind of feel, where authentic relationships, personal growth, and valuing each other’s unique strengths and contributions are evident as core values.