Texas Tech University

Virtual Student Teaching Experience Uniquely Prepares Student for Career as Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher

Ashley Brister

June 3, 2020

Virtual Student Teaching Experience Uniquely Prepares Student for Career as Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher

Restaurant, Hotel, and Institutional Management and Family and Consumer Sciences Education program combination was the perfect fit for future culinary teacher and recent graduate

Recent graduate Sydney Jones found a unique way to reach her students online as a student-teacher. Having earned degree in Restaurant, Hotel, and Institutional Management (RHIM) with a secondary Family and Consumer Sciences Education (FCSE) teaching certification (8th-12th grade), she will begin a full-time teaching position for Frenship ISD as an advanced culinary arts teacher in the fall.

When Sydney's student teaching experience went to virtual learning, she had to adapt to combat the lack of traditional student contact.

"To help my cooperating teacher, we would Facetime for about 1-2 hours a week," Sydney said. "I would help her create new online learning activities and then submit those into Google Classroom for my professors to see instead of making lesson plans."

Focusing on timely activities, Sydney worked to create a handwashing unit to teach students how to practice proper handwashing techniques based off of recent COVID-19 guidelines

"We had the students watch handwashing videos to restate proper handwashing techniques. After watching the videos, the students recorded a 20-second video of themselves washing their hands to demonstrate what they learned."

Sydney also created a discussion-based activity to cover foodborne illness.

"Each day, the students were given a different foodborne illness to research and answered a few questions about each foodborne illness. Onset, duration, and the proper cook time to prevent the illness," she said.

Syney Jones, FCSE TTU RHIM StudentHer experiences as a RHIM student working in the Skyviews Restaurant front and back of house positions significantly contributed to her knowledge surrounding food handling and sanitary procedures.

"I was able to see how a commercial-style kitchen was set up and run during a lunch rush. I was also given the opportunity to work at the Overton Hotel and gained a lot of experience about the hospitality industry in a hotel setting."

With a family of educators, Sydney knew she wanted to pursue teaching but also was passionate about the hospitality industry. The FCSE teaching certification option was the perfect fit for Sydney's career path.

"The FCSE professors were very involved and never felt like I was alone," Sydney said. "I was able to reach out at any time during student teaching and even during online learning and was able to get a response very quickly. With such a small group going through the program, I was able to make close friendships with the other students, and we were able to help each other and support each other during our time at Tech."

For Sydney, the unique end to her student teaching experience allowed her to gain technology skills and understand how to navigate virtual teaching. These skills will be essential as she enters her full-time position in the fall.

"I will teach advanced culinary, which is based inside the classroom and practicum," she said. "The course allows students to do catering events for the district or have work experience through an internship program."

Whether she will begin her teaching career with students in person or virtually in the fall, Sydney is thankful for the experiences that have each prepared her for a career as a family and consumer sciences teacher.