Tag Archives: teachers

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What CVU has Learned About Covid-19

Kobey Pecor

HINESBURG, VT–I was reading a Vox news article about how the Pandemic has affected the United States and this one line struck me: “America has an opportunity to learn from its mistakes during the Covid-19 pandemic.” So, I was interested and I wanted to connect this back to my community and my school and get their point of view on how Covid has affected CVU.

I spoke with two teachers, Tim Wile (Lead Counselor) and Rahn Fleming (Director of Learning Center)  about the strengths and weaknesses of COVID-19 on CVU. 

Both Fleming and Wile both gave me similar responses to questions. They both very much value relationships  in their lives, especially what they do as their jobs.  Communication and Relationships seemed to be the heart of the conversation.

I asked, “What would you do differently to prepare for the next pandemic?”

“The first word that comes to mind is communication, Having new ideas brought up on the fly. Generating, Decimating, and following up on new   information,” said Fleming.

I asked what CVU has learned about COVID-19, and this is where relationships between students and teachers became valuable. Wile said,  “I think relationships for students and teachers have been very valuable this year, only being able to see each other 2 days a week.” Fleming also said something similar to this. “Looking out for each other, taking the 1 on 1 conversations between students and staff to heart.” The CVU community values relationships, teachers love their jobs here because of the student connection between everyone.

CVU has done numerous amounts of positive things during this pandemic. Both Wile and Fleming came up with multiple responses to the question What CVU has done well during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Wile, our Lead Counselor, focused a lot on how well he thinks the CVU community did on creating a schedule that provides students that come in 2 days a week with either Cohort A or B with the learning that is needed. They coped with the fact that not all students are provided with good Wifi or cellular data to access their asynchronous learning at home, but they figured out ways to make it work. Wile quoted “I think the way CVU set up our schedule was very helpful and productive this year, our focus on student well being and content this year was quite good. Going onto a 4v4 schedule made a big difference for students and staff.”

Fleming, The Director of the Learning Center, didn’t have the same view as Wile on what CVU has done well during the pandemic, but he still had positives! If you knew Rahn, he absolutely loves students and working with anyone. Fleming said, “I really think we did a great job at patience and coming up with answers on the fly.” Fleming also spoke about how teachers are taking the time to connect and see students for extra help and just seeing them, because only coming to school 2 days a week isn’t much time. 

 

The Class Of Covid And The Battle Of 2021

Jagger Lehouiller

Hinesburg VT–Hybrid learning has been a very difficult adjustment this year. I decided to interview several students at Champlain Valley Union High School to ask about their experience with Covid throughout their senior year to see if it has been as challenging for them as for me. 

 To my surprise, many students are feeling the same emotions as I am. One senior, Derek Pickard, stated, “although I believe that CVU is a great school and has tried many different solutions to all of the mayhem that was this year, I think student support may have gotten a little tangled this year. With so many other problems occurring and so many substitutions being made to continue the learning experience I believe that individual 1 on 1 student faculty help was not as supportive regardless of all the intent of it being there.”  Many students, specifically seniors, have seen a lack of support/ or enough support this year. With there being so many issues in and out of school, students have felt the school has turned a blind eye on them.

Senior Bella Serafini felt, “I have a very hard time with hybrid learning because I feel disconnected from my teachers and I feel as though learning material is much harder.” Lack of structure and support has led to students having a harder time adjusting to these new schedules. 

In the past, it was required for seniors to create a “Graduation Challenge”. It was an interest-based learning experience built around something you enjoy, and/or are interested in. This challenge was required to graduate, and most looked forward to it. This year, the Grad Challenge is not the same as it was; now students are expected to create a slideshow reflecting their past, present, and future. With minimal information and confusing guidelines this change has led students to confusion.

One student said, “As of today May 6th 2021 I have put zero thought into my graduation slide. I feel as if it is an excuse to make other students who have graduated before feel as if they did there project for nothing a slideshow about myself will not prove to anyone the person am I compared to previous grad projects where you could reflect on what u love through helping the community” another students states, “I think Grad Challenge is a good way to connect with the community, but I think there is too much pressure associated with it.” 

CVU has had quite a confusing and difficult year, but as seniors we have proven to overcome all obstacles. 

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Teaching During Covid: An Interview With CVU’s Jeff Hindes

By Brennan Murdock, Fri, May 7, 2021

HINESBURG – This year has been tough on all of us, and we’ve all had changes in our everyday lives. One of the largest topics that I’ve seen covered during this global pandemic has been how students like me feel about returning for the 2020/ 2021 school year. How our classes have been split up, how we have to wear masks, and how we have to take many other precautions that interfere with our education. As a student, I’ve heard all about that. What I haven’t heard about at all is what it was like for teachers to adjust to these huge changes in the classroom, to deal with split classes, shortened courses, and online work.

Has it been easier or harder? More or less stressful? I am curious about the pros and cons of teaching at CVU during the COVID-19 pandemic, and am looking to shine some light on how this school year has been for our educators. What was it like shortening courses, communicating with students while wearing a mask, dealing with online classes, and only seeing half of their regular students in person each day?

Jeff Hindes, a CVU Humanities teacher, described this year as “logistically challenging.” He compared shortening his course material to “creating an abridged version of a book”, where it was crucial to select the most important themes in order to still convey the same story, but in a smaller amount of time. Hindes also said that he personally doesn’t find wearing a mask to be much of a hindrance when teaching, but expressed some difficulty in communicating with students. “The biggest problem that I have is understanding students, particularly those who are already a little soft spoken to begin with.” 

Here at CVU, students are split into two groups by last name. The first group has in person classes on Monday and Tuesday and asynchronous work on Thursday and Friday, the second group has the opposite schedule. On Wednesdays, however, classes are fully virtual and include students from both groups. This form of online schooling has been a big challenge for some teachers, but it certainly has its pro’s, too. “On Wednesday I have my Thursday/Friday and my Monday/Tuesday kids all in the same place, and so I can introduce a concept or introduce a project and then students can begin to work on it, and because they’re all in the same place at the same time, I only have to explain it once,” Hindes said. This is one of the best things about remote Wednesdays for teachers. It’s a perfect opportunity to provide instruction on upcoming or current assignments while all of their students are present at once. The downside is that most students and teachers are forced to sit in front of a screen all day long, which can get very tedious.

Separated students means much smaller in person class sizes, yet another strange adaptation brought to the classroom during this school year. Hindes stated that he doesn’t necessarily see this as good or bad, but “just kind of weird.” Some classes can be as small as four students, which definitely aligns with the phrase “just kind of weird.” While tiny classes are a lot to get used to at first, they can provide a much more focused class that can more easily adjust its pace to the needs of each student, since there are so few. 

This year has had no shortage of stress for any of us. Most would say it has been much more stressful than previous years. However, Hindes’ response to this question came as a bit of a surprise. “I think all things being equal, the stress level is about the same as a normal school year, but the stressors are different, if that makes sense.” He went on to say that during a normal school year he has many more moving parts, and sees more students each day. So for Hindes, his work for school is less stressful than normal, but the added stress of a global pandemic brings it back up to a fairly regular level. He is hopeful that next year, things will be returning to a relatively normal state.

For me, this school year at CVU has just been different, rather than bad. It’s had its issues, but has ended up being a learning experience for everyone, even teachers. Through these huge changes, we’ve been able to more easily see what worked well and what didn’t, and hopefully move forward with the best of both worlds. With vaccines now being distributed and fully in-person school nearly in sight, we can finally have hope that the next few years won’t be quite so chaotic for our students and educators, or for the rest of the world.