Welcome Alyssa Vigil!
Recently, the Schoolhouse.world team welcomed a new member, Alyssa Vigil! We had the wonderful opportunity to interview Alyssa and welcome her to the community. During our interview, she reflects on her journey to Schoolhouse and she shares her hopes for the future of the platform!
Hi, Alyssa! Can you please introduce yourself?
My name is Alyssa Vigil and I am a new team member on the Schoolhouse.world team.
How did you learn about Schoolhouse, and what motivated you to join the community?
I was actually connected by Jackie to Mariah because I was on a sabbatical from work. Even though I was on a sabbatical, I was still hoping to stay connected with other community managers. I put the call for connections out on LinkedIn, and Jackie found it and connected me with Mariah. Mariah and I had a 30-minute call and she told me about her work at Schoolhouse.world. She didn’t tell me that it was Schoolhouse.world, that it was this small team, or that it was by the same founder from Khan Academy. She just told me that she was working with a lot of young people—high school and college students. I was so excited to hear about that because I absolutely love working with high school and university students. I looked into Schoolhouse as a result, thinking “so what exactly is this Schoolhouse thing that Mariah is working for?”
As for what specifically motivated me to join the community, in my previous roles at CodeAcademy, one of the aspects of learning in online education that I saw to be so powerful and often underutilized is teaching as a form of learning. For example, if I realize I understand a topic, one of the ways that I know I really understand it is if I can explain it to somebody else. Robert Heinlein once said, “When one teaches, two learn,” and I think that is what I saw as the foundation—the hypothesis—of Schoolhouse.world. I thought, “What happens if we give all these learners who are so self-motivated and learning online the opportunity to teach, mentor, and tutor one another? What does that look like?” I felt like this was a natural progression from the work I really wanted to do at CodeAcademy to joining the team at Schoolhouse and supporting the team in whatever way I can.
What do you currently do at Schoolhouse.world, and what do you hope to achieve in the future?
Right now, early on in the role, I’m hoping to learn as much as I can about what works. The next phase after I breathe everything in will be to respirate—breathe out—and determine, based on everything that is working, where we can build more structure around what community members want to see. By listening, I am able to build some infrastructure by being a bridge between the community and the HQ team. For example, one of the things that the community wants is to have more people know about Schoolhouse.world, and one of the things that is working really well for reaching new people is social media. For example, one of the things I can do—just an idea—is support you on the blog team and connect you, perhaps, to working with the social media team. That way, when the blog team writes a new blog post, the social media team is alerted and can publicize the blog posts to all of our followers. That way, more people can learn about Schoolhouse. Basically, one aspect of my work is connecting people around ideas.
As for what I want to see in the future, I would love to see more ways for new tutors—new community members—to be able to find each other and find a sense of belonging. I think the team is so wonderfully connected and there are some really beautiful friendships that have formed. I think that the challenge is building those same opportunities for the newest members, so I’m challenging myself to build that infrastructure to help new members find that sense of belonging.
So far, what is your favorite part of being a member of Schoolhouse.world?
My favorite part is being surrounded by enthusiasm. I’m a naturally excitable, enthusiastic person. I scream a lot, even when I type. I get really excited about things, and I think the enthusiasm in this community for what we’re able to do and the help we provide is contagious and infectious. I also see myself reflected in you all. I’m older than many of the tutors, but I still find that the enthusiasm that you all have for education looks like mine. In that way, I feel like a belong, too.
What are your passions outside Schoolhouse?
I really like food and food tourism. For example, when we went to Paris, I didn’t go to see the tourist attractions. I hung around outside and we went to go eat. I also enjoy traveling, especially with my family, and I will be traveling a lot this summer. I like that this job is remote so I can take it with me anywhere because I really like to travel. I’m also really passionate about education justice, so this job’s values also align with my beliefs. Education justice is something I care about even if I didn’t work here.
Do you have any advice for other members in our community?
In any online (or in-person community), you get out what you give. So the longer you hang around, the more you’ll see the same names, know who to reach out to, see what’s fun, see who’s having fun. And you’ll find a way to join in more easily. I think this is a really welcoming community and the least scary I’ve ever seen. So don’t be shy about trying something new here because you’re not going to get anything out of it unless you give something to it.
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