Fine arts teachers overcome obstacles to teaching during pandemic

The rising numbers of online learners has presented a unique set of challenges to teachers of the arts, subjects that usually require face to face and group instruction. Fine arts teachers overcome obstacles to teaching during a pandemic.

Ms. Elizabeth Tinsley, choir and theater teacher, has had to find different ways of listening to the online students sing and must work around masks with the in person students. At the moment she is using videos to hear the virtual students; however, she has not been able to hear the class sing as a whole. “Videos are how I am hearing the virtual students, but I haven’t been able to put them together as a class yet,” Tinsley said.

Tinsley also teaches theater and in a class that requires a lot of face to face contact she is having to find ways of keeping students safe while still trying to teach students. “It is much more difficult to do acting assignments virtually and getting students to work together has been almost nonexistent but we are figuring  it out,” Tinsley said, talking about what it is like teaching theater virtually. 

“We have to space out and it is a lot harder to hear each other, and hear how we sound as a group since we don’t have everyone in class,” Alexis Leedy (9) said.

Mr. Leonard Yost, band teacher, has had to find ways of checking students’ progress without seeing them. Instead of being in the band room, Yost is teaching in the auditorium where students are at least 10 feet apart with four rows of seats between them. “We have been using a program called Smart Music,” Mr. Yost said, talking about what app he is using to communicate with the online students. “It’s really difficult to figure out if the online students are having trouble and how to fix it since I can not look and see if they have the correct finger and hand placement,” Yost said 

Mrs. Mary Cockerham, art teacher, has been finding ways to communicate with students and show them the proper techniques of drawing different mediums. Mrs. Cockerham has been using Google Meets to communicate with her students, and she has been posting videos explaining how and what to do on assignments.

“If we are doing something that calls for different materials, I make sure that they have access to it. I tell them that they can come to the school to pick up what they need,” Cockerham said, referring to concerns she has that online students may not have access to the materials required for different mediums and assignments.  

Teachers are having to teach face to face and hands on classes to students who are not in the school and the students who are in the building are unable to get the help they may need due to restrictions.