By Jo Mathis/AAPS District News Editor
Claudia Parfitt grew up in Breckenridge, Michigan, a small farm community in the center of the state. She is the youngest of four children born to an elementary teacher mother, and school administrator father. Parfitt was always good at math and loved playing sports growing up. Both traits passed down to her from her father.
Once in college, education seemed like a very natural field for Parfitt to study. A grandfather and grandmother, as well as both parents, and many aunts, uncles, and cousins have all been educators in Parfitt’s family.
Parfitt has been teaching math in AAPS for 22 years. Her first 10 years were at Scarlett Middle School teaching 7thand 8thgrade math. Then she spent seven years at Huron High School teaching Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2, and Senior Advanced Math. For the last five years, she has been teaching online math full time with A2 Virtual+.
Parfitt has three children, all graduates of Huron High School, as well as two grandchildren with another on the way. She says her best friend is her 7-year-old pointer named Ranger.
What are your favorite success stories at A2 Virtual? One of my favorite moments with A2 Virtual happened with a young elementary student. He took a proctored test with us and did not score as well as we would have liked. I talked with him about how to review and prepare for a test, and gave him another chance. After working hard to follow my suggestions, he came in to complete the retake and scored 100 percent. His face was absolutely beaming! He was so excited that the work he did to prepare paid off. He vowed that he would always use those preparation strategies. Since then, he’s been a very successful student and earns great grades on his tests.
What’s the best compliment anyone could give you? The best compliment I can think of getting is that I am a very genuine person when dealing with others.
Describe an average workday. I honestly don’t think an average day exists for me. Each day is a unique blend of answering emails, grading assignments, meeting with colleagues, proctoring tests for students, meeting with parents, and visiting students at their school buildings.
What advice would you give to a first-year teacher? One of my first pieces of advice for a first-year teacher would be to not be afraid to ask questions. Make sure there is someone you’re comfortable talking with during the difficult times. And, work hard, but don’t beat yourself up if some things just don’t work out.
What do you most want people to know about A2 Virtual?
- Although we’re a virtual program, we get to know and build great relationships with each of our students.
- One of our goals as a program is to support students and staff across the district.
What’s the happiest part of your day? When I get the opportunity to communicate with my students. Either face-to-face or virtually.
Favorite websites: I’m on my computer so much for work, I usually try to stay off of websites in my free time.
Apps you can’t live without: Stitcher, Google Maps, The Weather Channel, Facebook, Instagram.
How do you keep students engaged? I am in regular contact with each individual student. And, I make sure that they have something to work on at all times. Since I’m not physically in their presence on a daily basis, it’s important that I teach them how to find and use resources when they run into issues with the content of their course, and communicate effectively with me virtually. They also become good at troubleshooting technical problems when they come up.
What is the most rewarding part of teaching? Without a doubt, the most rewarding part of teaching is the relationships that are built with the students. And, seeing them grow as strong, independent individuals.
How do you recharge? Whenever I get a chance, I go for a run with my dog, Ranger. And when we have a little extra time, we go to my family cabin up north.
How do you spend your summers? I teach online math during the summer term with AAPS. But I also spend time with my family and relaxing at my family’s cabin near Cadillac, Michigan.
What’s most exciting about your professional life right now? Your personal life? The most exciting thing about my professional life right now is having the opportunity to work in a field that is fairly new in education. And learning new ways that we can reach students to help them become strong, independent lifelong learners. I’ve been fortunate to have worked with A2 Virtual from the very beginning, surrounded by a group of fantastic people who have helped make the program a success. Being a part of this program at this time in my career has kept my professional life fresh and very exciting.
What’s most exciting in my personal life right now is that all of my children and grandchildren live close by for the first time in about eight years. And, we have a new member of the family arriving in September! Being able to be a part of my children and grandchildren’s lives is more special to me than anything else.