Perennial student serves as new Digital Advanced Learning teacher
Education environments are where Emily Erland has grown the most. It’s no wonder she’s been in school most of her life and can now be found in the classroom of More Than Scores And Tests.
Emily recently joined the team as a resource teacher for More Than SAT’s Digital Advanced Learning (DAL). Sessions for this program are held at the More Than SAT classroom five days a week. DAL couples individualized academic coaching with the best and latest online tools for acceleration or support in math and language arts.
Emily is present several days a week to help the DAL students, who are various ages and work at different levels and paces. While the students work independently on a tablet or computer, Emily fields any questions on either the subject matter or the technology itself. “A lot of my job is finding the balance between sitting with them and helping them with their struggle—and letting them go through the struggle themselves and find the answer on their own,” she said. “I don’t want to give too much that they depend on me, but I also don’t want to leave them completely struggling.”
When students do struggle, Emily is there to help them learn from mistakes and reconsider their approach. “We go through a problem they missed and unpack it. I get them to explain their thought process, and we figure out how we can work on that,” she said.
She also guides them in the goal-setting and self-evaluation that is built into the DAL sessions—an aspect of the program she especially values. “It’s them grading themselves, and it teaches them to motivate themselves, rather than just respond to an authority figure,” Emily said. For one student who worked very hard but set really low goals to ensure success, Emily advised setting higher goals; meeting them was a big confidence booster.
Emily is pursuing a graduate degree in theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield “purely for learning.” She didn’t grow up with knowledge of the Bible or Christianity in general, and she became a Christian as an undergraduate. “I wanted to be more informed in my faith,” she said.
Her faith has influenced how she views the students with whom she works. “I try to always remember that each kid is special and made in the image of God, and not see them as how well they do or how hard they work,” she said.
Her attitude resonates with More Than SAT’s holistic approach. “I want to endorse their educational pursuits yet still empower them to know their significance beyond their work,” she said.
Emily grew up in Tennessee, in a small town close to Nashville. She received an English degree from University of West Florida, where she also played basketball.