Pivoting During the Pandemic: A Story of Teacher & Student SuccessJuly 16, 2021
Igniting Passion Through Personal Experience
There are moments in our life that ignite passion and seeds begin to develop whether we realize it at the time or not. Sometimes those seeds sprout at a young age, and that was the case for Terry Kass, Career and Technical Education (CTE) Cosmetology I Instructor at Lake County High Schools Technology Campus in Grayslake, Illinois.
The first seed began to take root when she was in the basement of a neighborhood friend’s house whose mother was an in-home beautician. She and her friend would sit in the basement, watching Ms. Otto work her magic, making clients feel beautiful while laughing, talking, and having fun. The sprout continued to grow while on vacation with a family friend whose aunt owned a wig salon. Terry remembers being taken to the salon and recalls the forest of wigs that were being styled to perfection for customers to pick up. Terry thought it was simply “the coolest thing since sliced bread.” It was these experiences that ignited Terry’s passion and compelled her to want to help others discover their calling. And with the help of eDynamic Learning, she is doing just that.
Terry has been wielding her knowledge and shears as a cosmetology teacher for the past 32 years and has helped hundreds of students foster their passions. Terry facilitates Cosmetology I at the Technology Campus, allowing her to help students shape their excitement for the industry. Terry’s diverse student population travels to the Technology Campus from several local rural, urban, and suburban high schools and upon arrival, she is able to spend three and a half hours with her students. Two and a half of those hours are devoted to hands-on practicums, but the remaining hour is devoted to important foundations- theory, reading, writing, and discussions. These foundational elements are the areas that the eDynamic Learning curriculum helps to enhance Terry’s impact on her students.
Reaching Students Through Multiple Modalities
eDynamic Learning (eDL) curriculum also provides Terry with additional supports and new avenues for approaching learning when working with her students. “I enjoy using eDynamic Learning to backup, enhance, or solidify what I taught the students. As I go through my class segments, I pull in eDL as another way for students to understand what was taught.”
“If they didn’t understand it through my lesson or from their book, the eDL projects and activities help my students comprehend the concepts. They love the TED Talks as they bring relevancy or context that opens their eyes in a new or different way.”
Terry has also seen improvements in her students’ learning and attributes it to the consistent design and the diverse activities of the eDynamic Learning curriculum that addresses different learning modalities.
eDynamic Learning was also able to support Terry’s students’ board exam requirements by meeting 60 of the 150 e-learning hours available for test preparation. In fact, students who complete Cosmetology I and II through the Technology Campus can earn all 150 e-learning hours available towards board exam eligibility. Like many states, Illinois requires 1500 hours of cosmetology training for licensing. One hundred and fifty hours can be met online.
Making a Pivot: Adjusting to Teaching in a Remote Learning Environment
Terry has been using eDynamic Learning going on 3 years and has seen her students thrive and their passions grow over the years. She loves being able to teach and inspire her students in a hands-on, interactive environment. But when the pandemic hit, she was one of the millions of educators who had to modify her instructional model to adjust to the situation.
As many schools were forced to close in-person instruction, educators had to adapt quickly to the changing teaching climate. Terry, who was acclimated to teaching in a very hands-on environment, had to adjust and think quickly on her feet so she could maintain student learning. Already thankful for what eDynamic Learning offered her students, Terry found herself even more grateful for the curriculum as she was able to keep her students moving forward and shift from a blended learning environment to a fully remote learning environment.
While thousands of schools faced the harsh reality of developing their own online curriculum, uploading assignments, having students print and then email them back to teachers, Terry had a contained system with eDynamic Learning that enabled her to keep her students focused and organized and keep the communication and learning process seamless.
Taking Ownership of the Curriculum Through Customization
Terry was able to customize the CTE Cosmetology course in real time. Since cosmetology doesn’t lend itself to simply explaining a skill to someone and expecting them to do it, these skills needed to be seen so Terry brought this need to life. She created videos of herself performing essential skills like haircutting techniques, providing a facial, completing a manicure, and so on. She embedded the videos directly into the eDynamic Learning course for her students, so they were able to see the technique and then practice the skills on their own.
But the acquisition of skills can’t be completed in a vacuum; they needed to be observed, and eDL offered that ability as well, even remotely. Terry asked her students to record themselves attempting the demonstrated techniques using a phone, webcam, or other recording device. Students were then able to upload their demonstrations directly into the eDynamic Learning activities so Terry could see her students perform the tasks. This allowed Terry to assess who may need additional assistance and was able to offer one-on-one coaching through a Zoom call. Terry’s videos were also leveraged by other cosmetology teachers at the Campus for students who needed to revisit the foundational skills taught in Cosmetology I.
eDynamic Learning helped Terry make a challenging year much more manageable. But this isn’t the first time eDynamic Learning helped Terry not only water her students’ passion but to nurture them in new ways. In recent years, an adult student, already a salon owner and licensed massage therapist, enrolled at the Technology Campus to acquire the essential skills needed to become a licensed cosmetologist. He enrolled in Cosmetology I and then eventually into Cosmetology II. And thanks to eDynamic Learning’s diverse and extensive curriculum offerings, Terry was able to enroll this star student into two business courses and the Entrepreneurship course so he could learn how to grow his business even further. He even completed the Anatomy and Physiology course, providing him a deeper understanding of how to approach his clients and take better care of himself, which have positively impacted his career and his business.
eDynamic Learning has helped Terry foster and grow her students’ passions in deeper ways, and has helped increase their confidence at the same time.
“I believe that eDynamic Learning gives students a sense of confidence. The units are challenging but they’re not too difficult to complete. Students actually feel more intelligent while they’re doing a research paper or completing a project. The program definitely helps students, mind, body spirit.”
Terry was recently recognized by eDynamic Learning as a 2021 Career Compass Award recipient for her incredible work with her CTE students in helping guide passion to purpose. We know she will continue to water those passions and help them bloom in beautiful and bright futures for her students for years to come!
Written by Jessica Fraelich
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