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CU: Students completing work in spite of COVID

By Matthew Taylor

Campbelsville, KY - Many of Campbellsville University's programs such as the School of Education's student teaching and the School of Music's senior recitals adjusted to follow COVID-19 protocols in the spring.

All education majors at Campbellsville University are required to complete the School of Education's student teaching program their last semester of their senior year to graduate.

"The student teacher assumes the same responsibilities as the cooperating teacher," Dr. Chuck Hamilton, student teacher coordinator, said.

"This includes planning and delivering instruction, assessing student work, communicating with families, participating in the professional learning community and any other activity that a teacher would be responsible for in their contract," Hamilton said.

The student teaching program was highly affected by COVID-19, and all schools were converted to online or all schoolwork was sent home with students to be completed. Due to the sudden change, all students involved with the student teaching program were no longer able to provide in-person instruction.

"However, student teachers were still able to collaborate with their cooperating teacher on planning and delivering instruction, only now it is in a virtual setting such as Zoom, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams or some other platform," Hamilton said.

"They were using more technology than they would typically, such as creating video lessons and posting for students to access on their own time, as well as hosting virtual real-time lessons," he said.

Keeahna Bowen, a P-5 Elementary Education major of Magnolia, Ky., was a week into her second half of student teaching before the pandemic interrupted her time with the third-grade students at Campbellsville Elementary School.

"The pandemic greatly impacted my student teaching experience," Bowen said.

She said she contacted students and parents each day through an app called "Class Dojo."

During the school year, Bowen said they used this app to communicate with parents and track behavior, but, with the COVID-19 virus, it was their main form of communication.

"I sent activities to students daily through this app and made myself available to assist students with their schoolwork. I also sent lessons of myself teaching and reading books out to students. They liked being able to hear their teachers' voices and see our faces," she said.

The 31 student teachers from Campbellsville University were required to meet a minimum of 70 days in their placements to complete the student teaching program.

"Most had completed approximately 43 days before March 13, the last day schools were in session," Hamilton said. "We did not believe anyone will not be able to meet the 70-day minimum requirement, but we asked for and received a waiver from Kentucky's Education Professional Standards Board (EPSB) of up to 10 days if anyone had difficulties meeting the minimum 70 days."

"It was hard to adjust to student teaching from home," Bowen said. "'Education is constantly change' is a phrase that I heard my professors use often. It is so important that teachers are flexible and willing to work under differing circumstances."

Here is a message from Bowen to her students: "To my students: You are so smart, and I am so proud of you! No matter what challenges come your way, keep pushing through because you are capable of anything! I love you, and I am here for you. I know that these times aren't fun and that we would much rather have been in the classroom learning together, but we will stay positive and be there for one another. You have made such an impact on who I will be as a teacher, and I am so excited to watch you grow!"

Music majors at Campbellsville University are required to meet 90 recital credits during their time as a student to graduate, and music minors are required to meet 45 recital credits. Music students are also required to perform their own recitals.

With the changes that came due to COVID-19, recitals at The Gheens Recital Hall were forced to go online. There were eight general recitals left to be performed from the time of the conversion to online.

For music students who needed a couple more recital credits and for those students who still had to perform, their questions revolved around how it will be completed.

"At first they offered watching YouTube recitals, especially the ones the school recorded," Betta Kim, a senior music major of Elizabethtown, Ky., said. "Then General Recital over Zoom was suggested by a student because we missed each other. Dr. Cunha, dean of the School of Music and interim dean of the Art and Design Department, liked the idea, and it worked great. I was able to get my last few recital credits over Zoom."

Luckily, because of the conversion to Zoom, no general recital was canceled.

"We held Virtual General Recitals (VGR) through Zoom meetings. All students attending the VGR received a recital credit," Cunha said.

All undergraduate music degrees at Campbellsville University require students to perform solo recitals while enrolled as students.

For the students who had to perform their recital during the pandemic, the School of Music allowed students to come to campus, while observing the strict social distancing guidelines, and perform their recitals for an empty recital hall.

If a student preferred, they could also record their recital from home and submit them, but all the students chose to come to campus and perform.

The School of Music professors tried their best to keep the same feel of normal recital for their students.

"Music is particularly hard to do online since technology is not completely capable of transmitting the audio and video," Jordan Amburgey, a senior music major of Hazard, Ky., said. "However, despite the technological hinderance, I believe we did the best we could have done."

Cunha and the School of Music is encouraging all students who had to perform during the pandemic to come back in the fall to give a live performance.

This story was posted on 2020-06-08 14:22:17
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CU student teacher with her class before COVID

2020-06-08 - Campbellsville, KY - Photo courtesy Campbellsville University.
Keeahna Bowen, second row center, student taught in Jessica Lile's fifth grade class at Campbellsville Elementary School for the first half of her spring semester. The second half, spent in Luci Shofner's third grade class, was cut short due to COVID-19. The photo was taken before social distancing was enacted.

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