… and students, teachers are still adjusting to challenges of online education


Lucyjane Crimm

Smartmusic, the website the PHS music classes are using for their education. This website allows students to record themselves playing from a selection of hundreds of songs.

Students and teachers alike have been trying to find the most safe way to continue education for students during the spread of COVID-19. 

While core classes see a switch to an online format, with some difficulty, interactive and hands-on classes aren’t so easy to switch over.

“The acting class is the most difficult to teach,” theater teacher Mr. Robert Hunt said. “It is just not possible to have students act scenes together when they cannot occupy the same space.  A ZOOM meeting just would not work well for this kind of activity.”

Many individuals have expressed disappointment and difficulty while adjusting to this new online format, as this limits educational expansion and, in some cases, even the typical day to day classroom teachings. 

“It has affected my art class plans greatly,” senior art student Hannah Saville said. “I was planning on completing a painting for a scholarship and then helping with the Mars project. It is very discouraging that the Mars project cannot be finished this year. And this is my last year to work on large projects.”

The PHS band is continuing to improve their musical talents by using a website called Smart Music, the choir continues to practice digitally and the art class students continue to develop their art skills with their required five hours a week of art. 

We read and discuss plays from the different genres that we will perform via the discussion board. It is as close as I can get to the level of interaction that we would have in class. These are all very different formats and it’s new to students.”

— Mr. Robert Hunt, PHS Theatre instructor

“We (the band class) have a website called Smart Music where we can listen to and record music to submit to Mr. [John] Fabela, which is how we are carrying out [class],” sophomore Aiden Chandler said. 

Each class requires a unique and different approach, but teachers are working to find ways to help students be successful online. 

“It (quarantine) has moved my Acting 2 class onto an online format,” senior president of the theater department Grant Dillivan said. “We use the NWC portal, Moodle, to do assignments and read different plays. It involves a lot of scheduling. I schedule what I will work on, what days or how long I’ll work on something. I get things done at a very slow but steady pace.”

The business call app, Zoom, has been utilized by many teachers to maintain contact with students. This provides a safe alternative to face to face learning while also helping students be productive. 

“It’s really awkward singing through a computer and you just see everyone’s faces staring,” senior choir member Tanner Moore said. “But shout out to Mr. [John] Miller for dealing with it like a Chad, respect.”

It not only poses challenges for the students, but the teachers as well. 

Teachers have to find new ways to continue their curriculum while also having students stay home and keep safe, all while keeping a check on their students and making sure they log in every day. 

The physical education and weights classes require students to do an hour of any exercise a day and log it, the theater class has been reading different plays and has plans to record and submit monologue performances. The apparel + textiles classes are working on upcycling their own closets and clothes.

“COVID-19 has definitely impacted our ability to do class like normal because all of our supplies and fabric are at school, and not everybody has sewing machines or the correct supplies at home,” freshman Sydney Spomer said. “Mrs. [Kandi] Bennett is also working hard to figure out a way to get every student’s hands on a sewing machine.”

It is important that students continue to learn, even while under quarantine; actually doing the work assigned is half the battle. This may be a more difficult form of learning, but school districts have found ways to continue safe learning.

“We will end up having students act monologue performances, film those performances and then give and receive feedback over the performances via an open forum discussion board,” Mr. Hunt said. “We read and discuss plays from the different genres that we will perform via the discussion board. It is as close as I can get to the level of interaction that we would have in class.”

These are all very different formats and it’s new to students and teachers; perhaps this is not the ideal set up, but it is the best and most safe. 

Safety is the number one concern and teachers are finding a way to work with what they are given to help students be successful while also staying safe. They may seem confusing at first glance, but communicating with teachers and peers is vital in order for this new online education format to work.