My Return to VHS

regan-photoHi, I’m Amanda Regan, a former student of Virtual High School (VHS)! I have now graduated from university and returned to VHS to complete my alternative practicum for my Bachelor of Education.  

I completed all 30 credits and 4 years of high school with VHS, graduating in 2012. VHS was the best preparation for university that I could have asked for. Not only did the knowledge I gained prepare me for more advanced material in university, but also the high expectations and standards of VHS teachers gave me an advantage when I was faced with the high standards in a post-secondary environment.

Equally important were the time management skills I learned, as having to use my time carefully to complete the courses (without having teachers remind me about deadlines) increased my organizational skills and gave me the motivation I would need to succeed in university. I have since completed almost 5 years of university at Nipissing and am about to become a teacher. Next year, I will be in a Master’s program in England, studying in Stratford with a focus on Shakespeare. I certainly couldn’t have managed this without Virtual High School. The teachers were, and still are, wonderful and incredibly helpful.

Being back at VHS has been an amazing opportunity, both in seeing how the program has evolved and in seeing the other half that students do not see – all of the work done by the teachers and staff to create and keep up with the courses. The courses I completed as a student, as great as they were when they consisted mostly of text and a few pictures, more or less resembled online textbooks. Now the content is more engaging and interactive, with videos, links, and activities. In my role here, I am helping to write and update some of the courses in the Social Sciences department by laying out units, creating assignments, and drafting lessons. I remember doing these same courses, and I remember what I loved and what I did not love quite as much. Working as an intern has been great as I am now able to help shape these courses for other students.

A bit of parting advice from a former student: Reach out to your teachers; they are there to help you succeed!

A note from Amanda’s supervisor at VHS:

It was fantastic to have Amanda return to Virtual High School. As a Department Head and curriculum developer at VHS, I don’t have the opportunity to interact with students as often as teachers do in a bricks-and-mortar environment. So, you can imagine that I jumped at the chance to mentor a former student, working collaboratively to build engaging lessons for our newest version of American History (CHA3U). As a former VHS student, Amanda had an insider view of ‘what works’ for online students, so we added more videos and activities to this version of the course to keep students interested in learning history. Amanda also designed some new, hands-on, real-life assignments. I can’t wait to see what our students come up with for their Virtual Museum Exhibit. Amanda was a delight to work with, and we wish her all the best as she works on her master’s program! – Allison McNamara, VHS Department Head (Social Sciences & Humanities, Canadian & World Studies, The Arts, and Guidance & Career Education departments)