Tiger teachers go virtual

MU education alumnae engaging students despite shift to remote learning.

May 15, 2020
Contact: Brian Consiglio, 573-882-9144, consigliob@missouri.edu

This is a photo of Allena Robinson

MU alumna Allena Robinson now teaches at Air Force Academy High School in Chicago, Illinois.

At Air Force Academy High School in Chicago, Allena Robinson wears a lot of hats. She teaches English, manages the school newspaper and yearbook, organizes graduation and prom, and serves as a mentor to new incoming teachers.

“At first, it was tough to see everything suddenly cancelled or transitioned online because the seniors had just finished fundraising for their prom,” Robinson said. “But I have seen an increase in student participation recently, and I think they see the value in continuing their education.”

Robinson graduated from Mizzou in December 2007 with a degree in secondary education. Her work study position at the MU College of Education helped her find a student teaching position at John Marshall Metropolitan High School in her hometown of Chicago during her final semester at Mizzou. Later, she taught English and prepared high school students for the SAT at Chicago Discovery Academy. For the past 9 years, Robinson has been teaching right across the street from the Chicago White Sox baseball stadium at Air Force Academy High School.

“I think investing in students and building genuine relationships with them is important because over time you can see them start to blossom,” Robinson said. “At Mizzou I felt like I had a strong support system so now I want to show my students that I have their back.”

Since the pandemic stopped in person classes, Robinson has been using Google Classroom to stay connected with her students and upload assignments. She speaks with the yearbook’s editor-in-chief over the phone to review content and provides virtual office hours for students wanting to ask questions.

“My drive and initiative is to show them I care, not just about their grades but also about their social and emotional well-being,” Robinson said. “By encouraging them and being there for them, I try to treat them like if they were my kids.”

At Kickapoo High School in Springfield, Missouri, Cara Posegate teaches personal finance, sports and entertainment marketing, business and marketing. She also serves as the school’s Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) advisor. While the club’s state tournament was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, Posegate believes the networking skills her students have developed will be an asset in their future.

“Business and marketing are everywhere, especially now when businesses are connecting with customers in new ways,” Posegate said. “The presentation and networking skills that the students are developing will serve them well regardless of what they end up doing in their lives.”

This is a photo of Cara Posegate and her husband.

MU alumna Cara Posegate met her husband at Mizzou and now teaches at Kickapoo High School in Springfield, Missouri.

Posegate earned a bachelor’s degree in business and marketing education at Mizzou in addition to a master’s degree in technical education. After teaching in Marshall, Missouri, and Seymour, Missouri, she has spent the last 4 years of her 13-year teaching career at Kickapoo High School.

“Being a graduate research assistant at the MU College of Education and a teaching assistant really sparked my love for teaching,” Posegate said. “I love talking to my students about the economy, small businesses and entrepreneurship. Some high school students don’t think they are very creative but they really are, and it’s great to see them have those lightbulb moments where everything just clicks.”

Now, Posegate has put all of her course materials on Canvas and reaches out to students who have not checked in for a while. She says that flexibility and understanding are key during these unprecedented times.

“Every student is different and not everyone has the same resources at home,” Posegate said. “Some do not have access to reliable internet; others have to work jobs right now to support their families, so I think just listening to them and not getting down on yourself is important because everyone is doing the best they can.”

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