news-category: Academics

GWU Student Teacher Utilizes Online Tools During Covid-19 Pandemic

Sydney Christopher, ’20, uses technology to engage with students and connect with parents

Sydney Christopher student teacher

Sydney Christopher, a Gardner-Webb 2020 graduate with a degree in elementary education, was in the midst of completing her student teaching when public schools closed to students in March. Her mentor was Rhonda Greene, a fourth-grade teacher at Springmore Elementary School in Boiling Springs.

Christopher didn’t panic, because she said her professors in the College of Education had prepared her by emphasizing the importance of flexibility. “In all of the classes I have taken at Gardner-Webb, one thing my professors have taught me is to adapt to circumstances/challenges,” she shared. “I am very thankful for every professor who has taught me to never give up. My cooperating teacher and I set plans to continue educating our students. I found that using Zoom to teach lessons to students three times a week was very beneficial. Also communicating with parents at all hours every day was a necessity.”

She said the school required each student to use an online program, called Edmentum, to further their learning. “By using Edmentum, Mrs. Greene and I were able to monitor the work students were completing and how to target their needs during our Zoom sessions,” Christopher said. “I also created three to nine videos a week to teach our students specific material that was covered in their Edmentum. Students and parents gave us feedback on how helpful the videos were for their child’s learning.”

Sydney Christopher Student Teacher

Christopher, who minored in professional education and American Sign Language, has accepted a job as a fifth-grade science teacher at Carr Elementary School in Dallas, N.C. To prepare for the new school year, she is participating in online training programs for “Leader in Me,” and gathering books and materials for her classroom. She will also use the school district’s curriculum pacing guide to create effective lessons.

“I have always wanted to teach elementary school children, because my aim is to teach the upcoming generation how to be successful, effective, and empathetic leaders,” she asserted. “I want the upcoming generation to be accepting of one another. I also want them to understand that they have unlimited potential and are valued in this world.”

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