04. März 2024

Meet the Academica Global Teachers – Kelly Rodriguez


Tell us a bit about yourself and how you started as a teacher with Academica International Studies?

Hello everyone. My name is Kelly Rodriguez. I live in north central Massachusetts and I have been a Global Teacher with the Dual Diploma Program since 2016. Joining the AIS Dual Diploma Program has been the perfect fit for me professionally because I love working with teens and hearing their perspective on everything, from what they’re reading, listening to, and watching, to the sports they play and the activities they do, to their hopes and dreams for the future. When I had the opportunity to work with international students in this global online program, I accepted immediately, and it has been the best decision of my professional life. 

As an online teacher how do you maintain personal contact with your students?

Physically, we may be an ocean away, but in reality, I’m only a Teams message (or an email) away. Similar to WhatsApp, Teams allows instant messaging, so whenever students have questions or doubts, they can message me on Teams and get their answers quickly. Teams is also a great way to send reminders, screenshots, and other helpful resources that support student learning. Assignment feedback is another wonderful way to make connections. I give personalized feedback on each written assignment, noting the strengths of the response and what the student did well, but also helping to correct grammatical mistakes so that students can learn and apply those lessons with the next assignment. I use feedback as an extension of our conversation, asking follow-up questions and commenting on what I found to be insightful in the student’s work.

Students thinking about doing the program sometimes worry that they won’t have enough time to balance everything. What would you advise them?

Starting something new is always challenging so it’s normal for new students to feel nervous or unsure; that nervous energy is a good thing because it shows that you care. But it’s also important to remember that students are never alone in this endeavor. As a Dual Diploma teacher, I am there to help students every step of the way. Learning the platform is like learning how to use a new phone; it happens almost immediately once you start to “play around” and figure out where everything is. 

When it comes to time management, our program is flexible, giving students the autonomy to work at their own pace each week to complete their lessons and assignments. They work on their Dual Diploma assignments when their schedule allows. For some, it’s earlier in the week and for others, it’s on the weekend. Everyone learns what works best for them, and if they miss a deadline, they have time to make up what they missed. Even most low-scoring assignments are given a retry so that students can improve their score. We want our students to be successful  and we give them the tools and the flexibility to make it happen. 

What development do you see in your students?

Dual Diploma students grow in a variety of ways. Undeniably, their English proficiency improves, but language isn’t the only place where they make progress. As our students progress through the program, they become more independent, learning time management and organization. They use their English more confidently and they learn how to work as a team with other Dual Diploma students in collaborative activities and group work in our live sessions throughout the year.  

Do you have a special message for students from Germany?

If you have been thinking about enrolling in the Dual Diploma Program, take this opportunity to join our community. You’ll improve your English, become more independent and confident in your academic ability, learn more about language and US culture, and even take courses in subjects that interest you. And let’s not forget that you’ll have a lot of fun too. Think about how the Dual Diploma Program can help you reach your goals. I hope you’ll join us. I can’t wait to meet you!