Texas Tech University

Staff and Student Highlights

Teaching With TTU K-12 Gives Instructor Freedom to Balance Career and Family

By Leslie Cranford, Media Relations Coordinator

Cassie Gilbert, a Texas Tech Middle School math instructor, wanted to be a teacher since she was very young. After achieving that goal and teaching in a traditional classroom for eight years, she came to TTU K-12 almost two years ago.

"In the traditional classroom setting, I taught 1st grade (self-contained), 3rd-4th grade science, and 5th-6th grade math," Gilbert said.

After having her own children, she also wanted to spend as much time with them as possible.

"After my husband and I moved back to Lubbock, I was looking for different avenues to be able to do both things that I loved: teaching and being a stay-at-home mom," Gilbert explained. "TTU K-12 has given me this opportunity, and I am beyond thankful. I am able to spend time with my own children, but am able to connect with students around the world through teaching them math. It is a true blessing!"

With each student, Gilbert tries to be a guide as well as a math teacher, noting how much adversity children face today.

"I always strive to be a light to each child in my classroom," she said. "I not only want my students to learn math, but I also want them to learn they are loved, valued, and that education is imperative for them to meet their goals."

Having taught in both settings, Gilbert says there are certainly challenges to teaching online courses.

"The hardest part about teaching online is not having that face-to-face interaction with students. I have missed seeing my students' faces and having conversations with them about their hobbies and goals," she said. "However, I feel like my online students have opened up more to me right away through TTU K-12 than my students in a traditional classroom setting. I have discussed with my students shared hobbies we have, and I always make it a point to check my messages and emails daily to maintain that positive relationship. I want my students to feel connected even if we never have a face-to-face interaction."

Along with a connection to her students, Gilbert says education is not something to take for granted. She has a recipe for student success, whether online or in the classroom.

"I really do believe that a student can be successful if these things are in place: a safe and secure learning environment, a strong work ethic from both teacher and student, and efficient, timely feedback and support for the student. I strive to maintain these throughout my online class through TTU K-12."

Most of all, Gilbert encourages any student to believe in themselves.

"You really can achieve more than you give yourself credit," she says. "As they say at Texas Tech, 'from here (or wherever you are!), it is possible;' I want every student to really believe that."

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