"I missed out on all of it, I got to do a very rudimentary version of it, I was not able to fully complete the task, and that's just one example," Smith said, "multiplied by every single class I've taken since sophomore year, I've missed out on so much. An astronomical amount."
Smith knows that her education for the past year has suffered because of the pandemic, and she is worried that it will be evident once she is teaching full time.
"COVID has definitely hindered this experience a lot and it makes me really sad because I know that not only does that affect me, but it's going to affect the families that I teach," Smith said, "When I get out of college and go into my career, there's going to be a learning curve… because I was not able to observe."
Recent graduates from WKU's IECE program are teaching their first Kindergarten class entirely via zoom, "It's a mess," Smith said.
"It just makes me really sad… not only is it sad for the teachers, but it's even more heartbreaking for the families and the children who are unable to receive the care that they require," Smith said.
Smith has spent three summers working at Sproutlings Pediatric Daycare, "a medical daycare which serves children with a variety of developmental delays, mental delays and physical delays, as well as typically developing children," Smith said.
Sproutlings made Smith realize that she wanted to be a teacher for the rest of her life.
"I think that it is something that I was born to do, but at the same time, I've become extremely passionate through studying and working in the field," Smith said.