April 15, 2020
VINCENNES, Ind. – At this time, the wheels on the bus aren't going
round and round but the wheels of learning certainly are! Indiana’s
K-12 schools are remaining closed for the remainder of the academic
year due to the coronavirus pandemic, but this is not stopping
student-teachers from Vincennes University. They have a special
connection with their students that social distancing cannot break.
Katie Keller, VU Student
VU Education major Katie Keller uses Zoom meetings to brighten the
days of second-grade students at Flaget Elementary School in
Vincennes. “On the first day, I made a poster that said, “Happy Zoom
Day! 2nd Grade Rocks!” and I had this displayed behind me to bring a
smile to the students’ faces,” Keller said.
VU Education major Collin Crabtree set up a Google Classroom and
makes videos for first graders at Vigo Elementary School in Vincennes.
Collin Crabtree, VU Student
“I post videos of
myself reading their classroom books and asking different questions,”
Crabtree said. “I also post videos explaining the packets that Ms.
(Casey) Kotter made. The video includes instructions for the students
and tips for the parents. It is important to help the parents as well
as the students. The parents are now becoming the teacher, and we have
to help them as well.”
Teachers are stepping up in many ways to best serve students during
this time of need and unprecedented shift from traditional classrooms
to remote learning.
Ann Herman, VU Professor, and Education Department Chair
“The Vincennes University Education Department is very proud of its
student teachers,” Education Department Chair and Associate Professor
of Education Ann Herman said. “Even though our student teachers can no
longer be in the surrounding schools, they are continuing to assist
their classroom teachers. They are conducting lessons via Zoom,
creating virtual field trips, and reading books to students with the
help of Facebook. Our student teachers are assisting the teachers with
Google classroom and are even creating lessons to be done virtually.
While this is an unprecedented time in the world of education, our
student teachers are using this opportunity to learn firsthand how to
deliver quality instruction in the remote learning format. We continue
to be proud of their wonderful work ethic and creativity.”
Keller has even gone as far as sharing her phone number with students
so they can stay in contact.
“Miss Keller, like all of our teachers, is finding special ways to
connect with students and help them with assignments,” Flaget
Principal Samantha McClure said. “She has been conducting Zoom
meetings with students in the class to teach lessons in real-time. She
has also mailed them fun activities such as scavenger hunts to keep
students learning in a unique way that doesn't feel like school. I'm
very proud of the way Miss Keller and the teachers at Flaget have
embraced remote learning to find creative ways to connect with
students, keep our routine and traditions alive, and continue offering
high quality, Catholic education. Miss Keller has done a fabulous job
representing the VU Education Department as a student-teacher at Flaget!”
teachers currently don’t have the luxury of face-to-face interaction
and physical bonds, but a special closeness still exists.
“I am very sad and discouraged that I am not able to physically be in
the classroom with each of these wonderful second graders,” Keller
said. “I am beyond thrilled that I am able to connect with students
virtually. I feel that being able to have the Zoom meetings with the
students is a great thing for not only the students but also for
myself as a teacher. I feel that the students miss their classmates.
They all want to stay after their work is done to chat and show their
classmates various things. I am trying to stay connected to all of the
students because I want to learn as much as possible from the things
that they are doing.”
VU student teachers are fostering an environment that is providing
students with the support they need to help carry them through an
“Education is continuous,” Dr. Cynthia Ragle, Dean of the College of
Social Science, Performing Arts, and Communication said. “VU student
teachers continue to assist K-12 schools and students during
e-learning. Our students are confident with technology and continue to
be a valuable resource for our K-12 partners. As K-12 students
continue to learn in the e-learning environment, VU's student teachers
are continuing to learn about student engagement and meaningful
learning experiences for all students.”
Crabtree is sad he didn’t have a chance to say goodbye in person to
his students, but he knows their safety is the most important thing.
However, he’s looking on the bright side and relishes the
communication he is able to have with them.
“This is not what I imagined when I pictured my student teaching,” he
said. “This is what every future teacher looks forward to when they
are completing their undergraduate degree. I am thankful that I can
interact with my first graders.”
Students aren’t the only ones who are learning. Crabtree, Keller, and
other student-teachers are acquiring precious experience and knowledge
they’ll carry into their careers
in education. They’ve strengthened their skills when it comes to
facilitating distance learning, they have built a repository of
technologies available to students, and have learned other valuable lessons.
“No one saw the schools shutting down for the rest of the year,”
Crabtree said. “However, I now have several resources available if
there's another pandemic. The teamwork I have seen at Vigo Elementary
was incredible. They planned lessons in five hours, so students could
continue to learn for 10 days. They also went in to make meals for the
students and continued to make lessons for students. I expected
nothing less from a school in the Vincennes Community School Corporation.”
Vincennes University Newsroom
MARCIA MARTINEZ, University Life Reporter & Sports Information Director
812-888-4164 office, 314-599-1519 cell, VUNews@vinu.edu, firstname.lastname@example.org
VINCENNES UNIVERSITY, Department of University Relations, www.vinu.edu/newsroom