In a traditional school year, child development students would be making daily appearances inside the Glenbrook South preschool classroom. However, during the 2020-2021 school year like most educators, the high school students have learned to adapt to a virtual and in-person environment.
GBS Child Development Teacher Kim Kiraly said this split student-teaching experience of both in-person and e-learning will help their careers in the future.
“They may not realize the value of it now, or completely the value of it now, but in five, 10, 15 years from now when they are teaching virtually over a snow day they’ll remember what it was like to do when they were fifteen and have the confidence that they can do it, because they’ve done it before,” Kiraly said.
Kiraly’s students and the preschool instructor work together coming up with lesson plans that work well in a virtual setting.
“We’ve learned about tipping our cameras down on our computers to be able to either have them see what you are working on or being able to have them reference what you are doing. Asking children to hold up different parts, finding lessons that encourage fine motor controls so we’ve done a lot of finger painting,” Kiraly said.
GBS Senior Caroline Adams said there is a lot more prep work when it comes to e-learning lesson plans.
“As we were working through how to make the lesson plans we were just kind of trying to figure out what problems might come up and it is a lot of trying to predict what might happen instead of kind of going off what’s already happened,” Adams said.
Adams said this is a great learning experience for her, because she hopes to one day be an elementary school teacher.
“I think it’s an interesting idea that now we have this ability to be able to still have school even when we can’t be in-person,” Adams said.
GBS Junior Molly Durow said learning the skills to teach virtual and in-person can help her career in the future.
“There were all these conversations going around that we won’t ever have a day off for a snow day and there will always be e-learning, so I feel like that’s a good thing to know how to do because it will probably come up in the future,” Durow said.
Durow is interested in becoming either an elementary or middle school teacher.
Kiraly said students enrolled with in-person learning are using the district’s ‘zoom room’ as a teaching experience, while her e-learning students are preparing lesson plans for the GBS virtual preschool.
“We are all new at this and I think having some humility and being open about how we are figuring it out at the same time they are figuring it out I think has allowed the students to build a lot of trust and a strong relationship that will kind of we are all in this together,” Kiraly said.
This school year, there are around 50 advanced students and 48 beginner students in child development at GBS.