VTFT provides valuable information, post educational options

Virginia Teachers for Tomorrow (VTFT) continues to adapt to the pandemic and provide services for struggling students through best teaching practices.

Senior Taylor Dody has entered the Educators Rising competition, which takes place over the course of about two months, through VTFT for a special cause. Dody chose to partner with Beach Buddies, an organization within the school that educates special needs students and prepares them for life after high school. As part of the competition, she has chosen to document the time spent these special students.

The competition’s purpose is to allow VTFT students who show outstanding merit in their interest for teaching demonstrate their abilities before a panel of judges. The competition ends on Friday, March 5, and the virtual judging will take place Wednesday, March 17- Wednesday, March 24.

In order to prepare for the competition, Dody coordinated Zoom calls with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), local restaurant Hot Tuna, as well as a local fire department. This allows Beach Buddies members to find something they may be passionate about and choose from a variety of vocations.

“All the students learned so much from the virtual field experience we learned about over Zoom. From customer service to how to adopt animals, it showed the Beach Buddies students how to care for and interact with others since they can’t participate live and in person in their field experience due to Covid,” Dody said.

In a regular year, the program would offer the Beach Buddies students the chance to receive real vocational training in a hands on setting. While that is not possible this year, adaptations have been made.

According to Dody, the students have the ability to adopt stuffed animals as a stand in for the real adoption process. Also, the fire department offered a  lesson on emergency services reception, and Hot Tuna provided a skills training workshop on customer service in the restaurant industry.

As the competition comes to an end, and due to the success of this year’s “Buddies” program, albeit in a virtual setting, the program and the Educators Rising will continue into the future.

“I think that it will let them, since they can’t do work experience or learn anything about getting into the real world, we brought the real world to them. Learning about restaurant business, SPCA, and fire department allows them to experience the real world in the four walls we have here at cox,” VTFT teacher Jennifer Nardelli said.


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