VTVLC Teacher Profile

Get to Know the VTVLC K-8 Teachers: Lauren Kelley

by | Jan 26, 2024

Q: Can you tell us a little about your background?
A: – B.S. in Early Childhood Education with a concentration in Communication Science from UVM
– Literacy Interventionist at Westminster Center School in Westminster, VT
– CSO first-grade teacher during the pandemic year at Westminster Center School
– Adjunct teacher for VTVLC for one year
– 3 years full-time for VTVLC

Q: What is your favorite thing about teaching for VTVLC?
A: How can there be one thing!?!

The students and their families: I love the relationships that are formed between myself and my students and their families. It’s funny that even though we are virtual and don’t see each other in person very often, we form very strong relationships and have excellent communication! Many of the parents and I talk every day. We get to know each other as visitors in each other’s homes. We get to know each other’s families, extended families and pets in a different way than if we were in person. I can honestly say that the relationships that are formed with students and families are sometimes stronger than they were when I was teaching in person.

The flexibility: I love the fact that students can access learning content at any time. Though we have synchronous sessions daily that are very important to their learning – they can access the content that we went over in class and don’t have to feel like they are falling way behind if they are sick or have to miss a day here or there.

Access: I love that we meet students where they are at in their learning and provide individualized instruction and content to each student. We provide instruction for all students. In the past, I have had students that have had to miss a lot of “in person” school either because they were immunocompromised or a family member was, and they started to fall behind. With our program, they were able to not only catch up on their work when they were feeling up to it, but they were also able to socialize with peers in a safe environment.

Support: The administrators, colleagues and families are so supportive of one another and of me! They genuinely care about each of us – students and adults alike!

Smaller Class Sizes: I love the fact that our class sizes are relatively small. That enables students to get to know each other very well as well as enabling educators to offer some personalized instruction to each student as well as offer office hours where students can come get extra help if they need it. It also enables educators to meet one on one with students if needed.

Q: What has been the highlight of your virtual classroom this year so far?
One highlight that I look forward to doing each year is the reading and assignments challenges.  Throughout certain months – usually starting right after the new year, I start the challenges.  Depending on the month or what is happening in class, for the assignment challenges,  I will “hide” a certain picture (in the past it has been hearts, shamrocks, flowers) in a certain number of assignments and the students need to find, complete and submit them.  When they submit all of the assignments with a picture – they get a surprise in the mail and they usually get to choose a fun activity in class.  The surprises could be bookmarks, stickers, an art project, etc.  For reading challenges, students need to complete a set number of reading assignments and after they do – they get to choose a new book or I mail them a surprise book.  The motivation and excitement is contagious and they encourage each other to keep reading and keep getting their work done!  

In my class, I offer times for students to take the lead and teach the rest of us about something they are really interested in.  I had one student that was an amazing artist and she would regularly lead us in guided drawing and art projects.  Each student is able to be a leader!

Another highlight is writing celebrations.  After the completion of each writing piece, brainstorming, planning, sloppy copy, revising and editing and clean copy, we all get together as a big group and each student takes a turn in the spotlight reading the writing and showing the illustrations that they worked so hard on.  Each student in the class then offers a complement to the student who read their work.  It is amazing to see how encouraging and supportive the students are of each other. 

Another amazing highlight is reading buddies.  One or two days a week, students come to meetings and are put in breakout rooms to read to each other.  Sitting back and listening to the students support and encourage each other is heartwarming.  There was one kindergarten kiddo who never wanted to read with a buddy – only to me.  One day, she decided she wanted to read to the whole group.  She struggled a bit here and there, but earned the applause of all of the other kindergarten and second grade students and several of them asked if they could offer compliments to her!  She was so proud! 

In my class, I offer times for students to take the lead and teach the rest of us about something they are really interested in.  I had one student that was an amazing artist and she would regularly lead us in guided drawing and art projects.  Each student is able to be a leader!

Q: What is different about teaching for VTVLC than teaching elsewhere? How do you approach that difference?

It’s the best!  

The classroom dynamic is a bit different because the students and myself are guests in each other’s homes, therefore allowing us to form relationships, with not just the student, but the family members as well.  Several students “do school” from other family members houses, such as grandparents or aunts and uncles, so we get to know everyone really well.  

Educators are encouraged to extend learning if students are interested.  We have a rigid curriculum, however, we can be flexible here or there if there is something that students are super excited and interested about. 

We have support from administrators, IT, HR, VTVLC staff and other educators literally at the tips of our fingers, and they are all so supportive of one another and each other.  And they are all incredibly helpful to our families as well.  

Between the relationships that are formed between teachers and students/families and the support of administration and other VTVLC staff, we are able to provide the best support possible for students.  


Q: What do you wish people knew about online learning or VTVLC’s full-time K-8 program?

Our program is the best!!!  

Online learning (and our amazing program) offers students a bit more flexibility in their daily schedules.  Students are not expected to “sit still” all day and focus.  We offer many breaks throughout the day and encourage movement for students who need it to help them concentrate.  Students are encouraged to listen to their bodies and do what is best for them to learn.  Sitting, standing, kneeling, fidgets, etc.  

Students aren’t isolated from the world.  Students are provided with time to socialize and form relationships outside of class.  We have several clubs that students can join to share in their interests as well as “social hours” where students can come to chit chat and play games or just hang out with each other – like recess at in-person school.  I have had so many students form really strong friendships with others in class.  It is so fun for them to have friends in different parts of the state.   

Students don’t stare at a screen all day.  We have several synchronous sessions each day, but students, especially  the younger students are given ample opportunities for screen breaks.  We complete as much work as possible in class and there are many activities offline for the youngest students to complete so that they aren’t on screen all the time.  

We get to see each other in person at super fun field trips and events! 

Our program is for everyone!