ORLANDO, Fla. — Even though it's summer break, the teaching and learning continues for some. Danielle Wolfe is an A+ Teacher for Florida Virtual School, and she likes to bring a special guest to her classes to reduce stress. 

What You Need To Know

  • Danielle Wolfe brings her Chihuahua Lolita to virtual classes, and she encourages students to bring their pets, too

  • She says students in the virtual environment are thriving because of the flexibility Florida Virtual School offers 

  • Click here to Nominate an A+ Teacher

"Our course work is challenging, but our courses are easy to navigate for students and the best part is they're getting that individualized attention from us, so it really is a classroom of one," Wolfe says. "I am so connected to my students because they're still kids who want to know their teacher supports them and cares about them and is in their corner."

Wolfe, who connects with her 10th-graders over English lessons, says it was while she was teaching in person classes previously that she noticed something in her students that were also taking some virtual classes.

"Students who came from some tough backgrounds — some personal-life issues — and they were thriving in the virtual environment because of the flexibility it offers and just the individualized attention they were getting here," Wolfe says.

She was hooked and switched to teaching virtually, but with a little help.

"So the first thing we have to do is get them comfortable and willing to talk and that's where my little Chihuahua comes in, and I've been incorporating pets into the classroom," she says.

Wolfe brings her Chihuahua Lolita to class and adds, "There is a ton of research out there about using pets to help lower stress. She will pop into our discussions with students. She will come into the live lessons with me, and students get to interact with her. I encourage students to bring their own pets with them."

Wolfe says choosing a career in teaching is personal for her.

"I come from a family of teachers so my grandma was a teacher, my mom was a teacher," she says. "I love working with children. I really just can't imagine doing anything else. So when students leave my class, I want them to know that they have a cheerleader in their corner for life."