Teacher Profile: Melissa Barnhart

Melissa Barnhart and her family.

Melissa Barnhart and her family.

Courses Taught at NCVPS

I currently teach NC Math 1 Co-Teaching. This past summer I taught traditional NC Math 1, and during the spring I also typically teach AP Calculus BC.

Additional Jobs

Being a mom to four children ages 6, 4, 2, & 8 months. 🙂

Teaching Experience

This is my 15th year of teaching. This is my 7th year teaching with NCVPS.

Experience as an Online Student

I took a few “hybrid” classes while earning my masters. Those courses still had a face-to-face classroom component, but the classroom hours were cut in half (or less) and the rest was completed online.

Advice to Online Students

Talk to your teacher! Call them, text them, inbox them through Canvas. Tell them when you are struggling. Let them know if you need help with the technology, do not understand a topic, or are confused about the directions for an assignment. If there are some technical difficulties you have run into, please let your teacher know and allow them to help you work through it. This is by far the most important part of taking an online class 🙂

The Internet

For class one of my favorite sites is Khan Academy! I love the way the teacher on that site (Salman “Sal” Khan) explains concepts. He is a talented instructor and has provided so many amazing resources that cover so many topics, it’s amazing. For fun on the internet, I read a lot of articles on health, food, and fitness (most of which I find while looking through Facebook).

Gadgets and Things

I think my favorite new technologies are the touchscreen laptop and the smartphone. With four young children, it is amazing how much easier it is to work with young kids on their letters and numbers when they can interact with the screen on the computer. When my oldest daughter was learning her letters through Starfall, I remember her touching the screen and wishing it would react because she would have loved that! The smartphone has also been an amazing development in technology that gives us access to so many of the answers we need right at our fingertips! It also allows us to capture memorable moments through photo and video and share with family so far away. Teaching online with a smartphone is truly priceless as I am able to help students so quickly by taking snapshots of my work on questions they get stuck on or record myself working through and explaining a problem and then texting it to them. 🙂

Goals this Year

My goal this year was to find a balance between work and home. I want to be the best teacher I can be and be available to my students and colleagues for help as much as possible, but I also want to be sure I give time and attention to my children and husband and foster those relationships at home as well.

Favorite Books

The only books I read nowadays are calculus textbooks and children’s books. :/

Favorite Music

I like a lot of music and several artists. I do not think I have a favorite. But anything with a good beat that makes you want to get up and dance I like. 🙂

Favorite Shows

I like so many TV shows. Game of Thrones, Stranger Things, Silicon Valley, Untold Stories of the ER, etc. I think my favorite show of all time though is Forensic Files. It was the first show I remember just binge watching when a marathon was on, and I felt like I would learn so much science while watching the show. My favorite movies of all time are the Princess Bride, Office Space, and Groundhog Day.

Interesting Note

I have a real interest in healthy living. I like watching documentaries about how food can support and promote health. I love exercising, whether that be kickboxing, Zumba, weightlifting, running, or HIIT (high-intensity interval training).

The Future of Learning

I think there will be so many more options available through online learning. In small schools where there are not enough teachers to teach or enough students to take certain classes, many of those classes can now be offered through online courses. I think these options will continue to increase. I also think there will be more embedded technology within regular courses through games with automatic feedback, interactive tools, and assessment technologies that help pinpoint areas of need for students.

Advice to Online Teachers

Build relationships with your students. Talk to them on the phone or meet with them real time in a virtual classroom as much as you can. The more comfortable they are with you, the more they will be willing to reach out and ask for help, and the more they will get out of the course.