Meet the MUSE Virtual Teacher: Natalie Backman

Meet The Teacher - Natalie Backman - Meditation Teacher - MUSE Virtual School

Welcome back to another “Meet the Teacher” blog! Today, we’re featuring Natalie Backman, a two-year veteran of MUSE Virtual who teaches Leadership, Meditation & Ethical Entrepreneurship. Read more to learn more about her personal history, passions, and MUSE Virtual experience!

Personal History and Training

Q. Tell us about your professional background prior to coming to MUSE Virtual.

A. I am an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher, Meditation Teacher, and Teacher Trainer. I am also the founder of Imagine Fest and the Bohemian Ball — two organizations that support children recovered from Human Trafficking. Additionally, I am the co-founder and CEO of Sakti Rising, a sustainable, ethical yoga lifestyle and apparel label. I bring this real-life experience to every class I share with the MUSE student body.

Q. What kind of training did MUSE Virtual require before you started teaching?

A. As an adjunct teacher, I wasn’t required to participate in any training prior to beginning to teach at MUSE. However as our relationship continues to grow, I look forward to ongoing training and development opportunities.

In the Virtual Classroom

Q. What projects are your students currently working on?

A. We are coordinating a “Spirit Week” to be enjoyed by the whole school prior to Spring Break.  We are also coordinating an activism-oriented teen summit called standUP, which will be held virtually, featuring teen leaders from around the world — with MUSE students in the forefront.

Q. How are your students responding to virtual learning?

A. In my classes, they are responding really well.  They’re embracing the opportunity to create events and activities for the rest of the school, which I have been very happy to see.

Q. How do you see the benefits of the 5 Pillars play out in your classroom?

A. Due to the independent nature of my classes, they provide students the opportunity to explore their own unique styles of leadership, incorporating what they understand about themselves through PCM. In Leadership, specifically, self-efficacy is a primary focus, as they learn to be accountable to one another through commitment, collaboration, and follow-through.  Sustainability is the primary pillar of focus in Ethical Entrepreneurship, as the students are cultivating business plans which are personally, socially, and environmentally sustainable.  Passion plays a role in every class I teach, as I coach students to link their passion to their life’s purpose and pursue both in everything they choose to take part in.

MUSE Virtual Experience

Q. What distinguishes MUSE Virtual, in your opinion, from other schools?

A. There is an experience of freedom with MUSE Virtual — both for students and teachers. I feel trusted by the administration to come up with big ideas and pursue them, embracing the risk of failure as an opportunity to learn and grow. Because I have this freedom as a teacher, I am able to pass it along to the students in a meaningful way. Now is the time for all of us to dream big, spread our wings, and attempt to fly. Before we can fly, we must fall. If we can fall in a safe space, like MUSE Virtual, and pick ourselves up again as many times as necessary, when we go out into the world… we’ll be ready to soar.

Q. What has been the most memorable moment from your virtual classroom thus far this year?

A. At the end of Winter Wonderland, students of all ages were given the opportunity to express what they enjoyed about the event. For many of the students, this turned into an expression of what they were grateful for this year. The genuine, enthusiastic gratitude they shared was very touching and inspired me to continue to create opportunities to bring magic, joy, and celebration to this bizarre and challenging year.

Q. And tell us one fun fact about yourself!

A. I broke both legs and an arm and cracked my head open several times all before I turned five. Each was an attempt, in one form or another, to be airborne — escaping from my crib, jumping off the bunk beds, falling out of trees. I know a thing or two, from personal experience, about failed attempts to fly. I also know the power of picking yourself up, dusting yourself off, and giving it another try. I love that I can share this resilience and tenacity with the students of MUSE.

What To Do Next?

We are so grateful for Natalie’s contributions to the MUSE Virtual community! Learn more about a MUSE Virtual education and how your student could benefit from experiencing Natalie’s classes by visiting our Academic Planning page.

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