Teaching ILC Students During COVID

Hannah Najem, Writer

Covid has been hard on students, but has unique challenges for the students in ILC. Using each other for support plays a big rule throughout this year. Linda Snelgrove an SAS teacher and Jennifer Hasty also an SAS teacher have shared their experiences with teaching ILC students during COVID.

Q: What are some things that you enjoy about teaching ILC students? 

Snelgrove: I love so many things about our students.  Just spend one day with us and you will never be the same.  Our students are without guile.They are kind and good and honest.  They work hard and always try to do their best. They love life and give so much of themselves.  They are funny, talented, creative and all around wonderful.  Their abilities may be different than others, but they have so many.  This job has changed my life for the better.  My students bring me joy every day.

Q: What is your experience with online learning during COVID?

Snelgrove: We had a good experience with online learning. We had support from our parents and usually had all students who could participate online almost every day. Besides core classes and work experience vocational class and work experience class. We incorporated cooking, art, social studies, and science classes during remote learning. The District also supports us by sending para-educators to student’s homes for a set amount of time during the day. They helped students online and worked one on one with students’ individual goals. Grandview also has a Unified PE class and students participated in that class too. 

Hasty: It’s been a little frustrating, but it’s also been pretty positive.

Q: How do you support ILC students during in school learning and at home learning?

Snelgrove:  We support our students and families during remote learning by having good communication.  We delivered individual bags to their homes every few weeks with assignments and everything needed to participate in our projects.  For example, we gave them all supplies needed for cooking, for art assignments etc.  We also sent home some fun items.  We all participated in a Kindness activity during December “The More You Give the Happier You Live.”  For every kindness performed you added a link to your personal kindness chain.  We brought the chains together after Remote Learning.  The chain is now in our GHS Unify case which is near the Dean’s office in the Lower hall.  We did a spotlight on many of our students during remote learning.  We always stress the Unify Theme for the year 2019-2020: “BE THE “I” IN KIND.” 

Hasty: Our kids are only online on Mondays; they come four days a week. So when they go to the general education classes when it’s their cohort. Otherwise we have a remote room that they can do work in. So on Mondays we have a list of work we have them do. They pop in our ILC classes when it’s time, and then they go to their general education classes.

 Q: What are some struggles that you’ve seen the students face?

Snelgrove: I think the hardest struggle is not being able to have student assistants in our room. We have always had so many students volunteer with us and my students miss the association with these friends. We were sad we could not participate in Unified Sports. We cheer with Varsity cheerleaders, play Unified basketball and participate in unified track. We also have a soccer clinic sponsored by GHS Boys Soccer with over 100 participants. We also missed our GHS Unify Music Therapy concerts. We have been able to spend a lot of time working on core skills of reading, writing, and math. That has been very beneficial.    

Hasty: During COVID it is really hard to connect with somebody when they’re on a computer. I feel like any student connects face to face, in-person, and you can build that relationship, so if you’re on a computer it is really hard to build that relationship. In general I don’t think I see any different struggles from ILC students then I do with other teenagers.

Q: Is there anything you would like to add?

Snelgrove: If you have the chance next year, be involved with us.  You could join GHS Unify Club or Unified PE.  You may want to volunteer in one of our classes or be a part of Unified Sports.  Please take the opportunity to come to know our students and be their friend.  Throughout the years at Grandview, I have had so many gen ed students volunteer in our classes.  Many come thinking they will change our lives and help us (which they do).  Most have said they will never be the same again because our students have changed them and have helped them to become a better person.