Many teenagers look forward to the day that school lets out, and for months of relaxation. However, the recent cancellation of school due to the COVID-19 outbreak has been extremely odd and somewhat stressful. To keep classes going and prevent keeping students in school over summer, MBHS has begun online classes. This change has been strange for both students and teachers but could provide a look at how schools may be run in the future.
For teachers, this change has its pros and cons and comes with difficulties for different departments. History teacher Sherill Van Dam described her experience, “it has been quite an adventure! Overall after a few kinks and getting into a schedule with my classes and the students I am pleased with the first week. The biggest problem is the students that are not engaging, and following up with them.” For subjects like English, history, and math, it is somewhat easier to assign students online reading. However, for science and elective classes that require more hands-on activities, this change has been considerably more different. Science teacher Steve Gade says, “I am not going to attempt ‘wet’ labs. However, students will participate in ‘dry’ labs, including working with modeling software.” Electives have an even more difficult job of giving students activities to do. Sherry Wright, an English and theatre teacher described the change as “weird,” and went on to describe how, “most of the time (in theatre) we work in groups, whether for improv activities or more formal scenes. I started last week with a quick scripting of captions for photos, but this week we will start to read a play together. Then maybe I’ll have them film themselves doing a small scene, perhaps with a family member? Or maybe we try a Zoom conference call reading at some point? I’m really making this up as I go. As we all are.”
One of the developments that this change has brought is how schools can better use technology. Gade said, “I don’t think that anything will go back to normal. I think this will have an indelible, and net positive effect on our society.” There are both pros and cons to our current situation, Gade said that he enjoys having “ more time with family, and a slower and more deliberate pace to life. We have time to proact, instead of the usual juggling of reactions to externalities,” however, “We all must avoid a slide into creature mode. It is important to have a daily schedule and to stick to it.” Many teachers also expressed concerns about students who struggle with time management and students who are learning English as a second language.
As this continues, the school is working to provide food and internet access to students without it. Ms. Owens and Ms. Williams will continue to provide lunch/breakfast during the school days between 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Device pick-up is available next week from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Please see Officer Stuart for assistance. The administration also said in their most recent email, “You may notice a lot of “No Caller ID” phone calls. This may be one of our staff calling from their personal phone. If you miss the call, no worries- call the school at 805-771-1845 and leave a voicemail. Please continue to monitor Parent Square and Google Classroom for updated information and classwork.”