West Michigan teacher battling health condition moves career from classroom into home

Posted at 6:19 PM, Feb 06, 2015
and last updated 2015-02-06 18:31:02-05

BATTLE CREEK, Mich.-- A teacher from Battle Creek has moved his passion for teaching from the classroom into his home due to a health condition.

Spencer Kahly began teaching in 1996. It wasn't until several years later, in 2008, that he began having seizures.

The condition would leave him unable to drive for months at a time, causing him to depend on family and friends to get him to Pennfield Middle School, where he worked.

"I wanted to find a place where I could get rid of some of the stress I was having and not have to rely on people," Kahly said. "There was several years where I was struggling with, 'what am I gonna do next?' It was a lot of stress."

Despite the setbacks with his health, Kahly's passion for teaching remains strong. Seeing his students grasp a topic is among his greatest accomplishments.

"There's a moment where they get it," Kahly said. "It's phenomenal. It's a high almost. It's addictive to teachers."

Unable to let that go, but needing a change from the traditional classroom setting, Kahly now works in an office located in the back of his home. The walls are decorated with artwork, like most classrooms, only the pieces are drawings from his kids.

Kahly wears a headset while teaching 7th grade through Michigan Great Lakes Virtual Academy. While still being able to engage with students, through voice and video, he no longer has to worry about making it to school.

"If I do have a seizure at home or something, I can still work the next day. Maybe I could even work from my own hospital room," Kahly said. "When I'm teaching I can be in and out of the classroom. I can finish class and go get a cup of coffee if I want--go help make lunch and then come back because I don't teach throughout the whole day."

While Kahly's medication brings on some side effects, like dizziness, it's been more than two years since he's has had a seizure.

Finding a way to do what he does best, there's only one downfall when it comes to working from home, as a teacher in Michigan.

"You'll see the whole list of schools that say it's closed...and not me,"Kahly said.