The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed schools to turn to remote learning in order to keep students safe and enforce social distancing, and is rapidly becoming the new normal.
The sudden shift from traditional to virtual learning is new, and it poses its own new challenges for everyone, especially for teachers who happen to teach classes that have a more hands-on approach, such as art, cooking and performance classes.
Many of these teachers have had to make adjustments in their classes, in order to make it so their students could still learn properly from home.
“Starting from this school year, I kind of just threw everything out that I used to do, and just started from scratch as if I were a brand new teacher,” visual arts teacher Chandra Beadletson said, “I’ve made a lot more videos than usual. I teach through the videos, that way students that have other things going on during class can view the instruction at their own pace.”
Social interaction can also be limited as a result of virtual school. Students now have a new level of accountability to make sure they’re asking for help when they need it, and getting work done.
”If students don’t have their videos on and they don’t ask questions,” Beadleston said, “I can’t really tell if they’re getting what they need from school and from me.”
Family and Consumer Sciences teacher Nikki Cochran has also had to make many adjustments to how she teaches her class, and how assignments will work.
“My first thought was how in the world am I going to teach a cooking class online?” Cochran remembers asking herself.
“I highly recommend students cook at home and I provide recipes for their cooking,” Cochran said, “but there are alternate assignments where they can demonstrate their knowledge, critiquing, YouTube videos, or doing a fake lab where they pretend they have the food.”
Ben Bartlett, who teaches drama, discusses doing virtual shows online.
“We’ve seen some online shows that have been adapted in Zoom that people have done, so we’ve seen things that are out there,” Bartlett said. “It’s not easy, and it’s not the same quality as we’re accustomed to doing, but it is possible.”