Since I started working for a virtual learning company (Shout out to Dailies!) a little over a year ago, one of the questions that is most frequently asked of me is “Isn’t that isolating?”
Working virtually is a lot of things- flexible, freeing, motivating, and just pure lovely (at least for me!), but I haven’t found it to be isolating. I transitioned to this remote job during COVID, when I got married, moved across the country with my husband due to the military, and found myself living in a primarily desolate area without any current connections. If working remotely would be isolating for anyone, I would think that would be for me in those current life circumstances! However, I found working remotely to actually be my socialization saving grace.
From the get go, I tried to make connections through church, the gym, through my husband, and military wife events. However, genuine and authentic connections can’t be rushed nor forced, and I realized it would take time to “start over” and truly find my people. Throughout all of this, including a 6 month deployment for my husband, I found the thing that kept me the most sane, socialized, and excited to interact with others was Dailies- my remote job.
To this day, I am mindblown how interacting with people daily, even virtually, makes such an impact on my overall wellbeing and happiness.
As a former classroom teacher and interventionist, I am glad to still get my “kid fix” in this current role, and to get to work with kids in both academic and social break (our unstructured conversational time through DailiesSchool) settings. As just one example, I have tutored a student in NYC and have had that professional connection for over a year now and also watched her have her own peer relationship with a classmate in Las Vegas. Each day, they were so excited to log on and see each other and learn together. Watching them break all distance, socioeconomic, and cultural barriers to become friends was truly amazing.
For all of our students, they have the opportunity to participate in both academically structured and unstructured socialization time. For the unstructured time (which is still monitored by a teacher), they get to talk with their friends all over the United States to make up their own “clubs” and do activities together, draw together, do show and tell, or simply just talk to each other by asking questions and telling stories. For our structured academic classes, all of our teachers still incorporate lots of discussion, conversation, and social skills into the content and classes.
When thinking about the social interactions with my own educator coworkers at Dailies, I am just as astonished at how a sense of community can truly be established through computer screens. We have a platform where there is consistent (yet not annoying!) communication where teachers ask questions, share resources, share pictures, or just chat. We also get to talk with each other at optional meetings that our company offers. We always comment on how strange it is that we haven’t truly “met” each other because it definitely feels like we have! I “met” one of the other teachers through her onboarding process; even though we live on polar opposite coasts of the United States, we still continue to chat and check in on each other. It’s just so refreshing to have genuine relationships and similar experiences with similar minded people that all love education. If a day goes by without me chatting multiple times with our co-founder, Jessica, my world definitely feels tilted!
Not only has this provided me the opportunity to interact with other teachers, but I have been blessed with meeting so many other types of people, those who hold jobs that I would have never interacted with in a traditional classroom setting. It’s fulfilling to realize that there are common threads between so many of us- whether that’s military life, discovering we’ve traveled to the same place, or even finding out we had the same wedding month and year!
All this to say, don’t let the fear of virtual work or learning lead you astray. I promise that I wouldn’t choose to write a blogpost about this topic unless it was something that I experienced myself and truly felt passionate about. With a lot of change in my personal life throughout the past year, and definitely a chaotic time in the world around us, I don’t know what I would have done (and continue to do!) without my professional relationships there to support, cheer me on, and educate me virtually- all without the typical “school drama” that often naturally arises when so many teachers work in close quarters in stressful situations for many hours, hah!