Going the Extra Mile
Pamela Moyer’s vacation to Hawaii in the fall of 2009 was a trip of “firsts”. This travel marked the first time she had been to Hawaii and the first time she had met one of her students face-to-face.
Pam teaches online math courses from her home in New Jersey where she lives with her family. Her husband was travelling to Hawaii for business and Pam decided to join him because she had never been there.
“I remember that one of my student’s bios said that he lived in Hawaii,” says Pam. “I sent him a note asking him what island he lived on.”
It turns out that Pam’s hotel was on Oahu, the same island where her student lived. After finding this out, the student asked to meet up at a coffee shop to say hello.
“I told him to meet me in the outdoor lobby outside my hotel and that we’d get a cup of coffee and I’d bring my laptop,” explains Pam. “I was aware he was struggling and needed help with recent material.”
Pam’s student had missed a basic concept in Algebra, which was introduced in Week 4 and used throughout the remaining five weeks of the class. “I showed him what he had missed and we worked on some math problems for about an hour an a half.”
Before their meeting, Pam’s student was considering dropping the course because he was performing poorly. But, after their short tutoring session, the student finished the course strong and ended up earning a B+.
When asked about this experience, Pam answers, “It helped him stay and finish the course. It’s why I do this. With math, I can understand how it just doesn’t click. I still remember times when someone slowed down and helped me, usually a teacher, my dad or later in life, my husband.”
One might be able to say that education is in Pam’s bloodline. Growing up, her mother was a teacher and unlike other children who grew up playing “house”, Pam played “school” with her sisters. Now, Pam and her two sisters all teach online courses at University of Phoenix.
“Teaching,” says Pam, “is something I’ve done since I was in high school. I want to show others how to do what I’m able to do. I really enjoy the feeling that I’m helping my students.”
It seems her students know this too. “Past students call me for help when they’re in their next block of classes and I’m not their instructor. I still help them out; it’s good stuff when students realize they can do it.”