Online classes with Amy Singer are a new way to learn


Wedged in between the gym and the art block, there is a room unlike any other at FHC. Instead of math or chemistry posters, laptop carts and pacing guides line the walls. Dozens of subjects ranging from Health to AP classes are taught in room 153. This room belongs to Amy Singer, online learning teacher.

Singer is FHC’s very own mentor for online learning at Michigan Virtual High School (MIVHS). Although Singer is the online learning mentor, almost every one of her students has a different teacher through MIVHS. The learning of material itself is done by the student and is supported by their online teacher.

Each student goes through the material online by themselves and is graded on their submitted assignments by their MIVHS teacher. Although she doesn’t directly teach, Singer has a very important role in ensuring the success of her students.

“My main job is making sure my students are staying on track,” Singer said. “I also answer any questions that I can about their courses. Sometimes I go back and forth between instructors and the students. I have to take attendance and enter grades too. That’s the no fun stuff, but it’s part of the job.”

Everyday Mrs. Singer comes around and takes attendance and always asks us how our weekend was. It’s really nice to have that personal connection with your teacher.

To many of her students, Singer is more than just their mentor. Sophomore Charlotte Partak has been taking Spanish 1 online both semesters this year.

“Everyday Mrs. Singer comes around and takes attendance and always asks us how our day was,” Charlotte said. “It’s really nice to have that personal connection with your teacher. If I ever have a problem with my online website, Mrs. Singer usually knows how to fix it and has great input on many of the questions I ask, even if she can’t help.

This is Singer’s first full year at FHC, but throughout her career she has taught elementary, middle, high, alternative, and adult school. Her experiences have shown her how valuable online learning can be for some students.

“I especially do remember one student I taught when I was teaching at Godwin Heights,” Singer said. “He struggled with learning, and all kinds of issues. He pretty much had to do all of high school online. Through online courses, he got a scholarship to college. He came back and visited a few years later when he was doing pre-pharmacy. He really turned his life around.”

This student taught by Singer did online classes the right way. He took notes and reviewed his material, and was the epitome of what an online student should be. Online classes can seem like an easy way to pass a class without doing a lot of work. This problem is one many online students face. In reality, it is quite the opposite, as they require a lot of time to go through the material yourself without a teacher.

These online courses require a lot of dedication and focus from students. Not seeing your teacher and submitting assignments online can spark laziness in some students. Diligent online students have to persevere through this and take control of their learning.

“Online classes are not for everyone,” Singer said. “Some students just can’t discipline themselves enough to do an online course. It’s not their learning style, so it wouldn’t be successful for them. It’s harder than it seems because of the discipline you have to have. It’s really not a study hall or a free for all, like some students think.”

Students who take online classes can feel the stress of keeping up with their learning without a teacher. One such student is sophomore Kaitlyn Piontkowsky. Kaitlyn takes online US History through MIVHS.

“I would say that online classes are definitely for kids who are able to stay on top of their class,” Kaitlyn said. “While it’s very easy to get ahead, it’s also very easy to fall behind.”

However, for every student who gets behind, there are several more that exceed their potential in online courses. Taking a course online has the potential to boost some students forward and enhance their learning.

“[Online classes] give you the chance to learn at your own pace,” Singer said. This really works for a lot of students. And for me personally, when I take online classes, I can really dig in and learn more of what I want to.”

At the end of the day, choosing whether or not to take an online class depends on how well the student will be able to achieve what they are aiming for. Students should know that they will have a supportive MIVHS teacher and Mrs. Singer as a mentor should they choose to take on an online class.

“For many, online is a great way to learn, so I would say to choose online if it is the best way for you to learn,” Charlotte said. “I would really advise other students to look at the choices of classes online because there are so many to choose from.”