The Odd World of E-School Teachers

Ian Shapira:

For Trinity Wilbourn, teaching high school via the Internet offers a heartening and maddening prism into the teenage mind-set.
Sitting one day at her home office overlooking a golf course, the Prince William County teacher received a snarky comment in all capital letters from a devil-may-care summer school student. But the next moment, she marveled at another male student’s frank e-mail: “[W]hen I first went to high school, I did not know who I was for awhile. . . . I tried being someone I could not be.”
“I feel like, what kind of guy is going to say that out loud in his class?” Wilbourn said.
Educators who supplement or replace their day jobs with online teaching for local public schools are discovering that the perks of working at home come with hurdles: grappling with awkward or confusing lines of communication with their pupils; gauging student performance without seeing facial expressions; and struggling to withstand the urge to check e-mails from students during weekends.