Being back to in-person schooling has made a huge impact in the classroom

Damien+Moore+%2812%29+hot+glues+the+finishing+touches+on+his+found+object+sculpture+for+Ms.+Heyl%27s+art+class.++

Avery Neal

Damien Moore (12) hot glues the finishing touches on his found object sculpture for Ms. Heyl’s art class.

Over the course of the past year, the Mehlville School District has been through many changes with their schedule. Going from all virtual, to a hybrid schedule, and back to completely in-person has made this year fairly difficult for teachers. 

Many classes struggled to run properly since students weren’t allowed in the classroom. Especially classes in the Visual Arts, Performing Arts, and FACS departments. These classes all require students to have certain supplies for different assignments. Being at home made it difficult for students to get a hold of those equipment.

“I ended up giving all my students their own art kits. This way, students were still able to create projects at home,” said Ms. Alexandra Heyl, Visual Arts teacher. “It was very challenging and I really missed being able to interact with the student in person.”

“We are very project based and utilize equipment and supplies that students may not have access to at home,” added Ms. Jamie Daughaday, Family and Consumer Science teacher. “It was a challenge! But, like Tim Gunn says, ‘Make It Work!’ and that is what I tried to do!”

These types of classes also require a decent amount of time during a class period to work on projects. 

“We plan labs, then have to switch to virtual or from a 90 minute class to 45, which makes a huge difference in what you can cook during a class time,” said Daughaday.

“The most difficult was the 45-minute rehearsal time,” said Ms. Chelsea Ayres, Choir and Music Appreciation teacher. “We could not get very deep into any music making before the bell would ring.”

Not only do these classes require supplies and a longer class period, they also require a lot of planning which can be difficult with a constant changing schedule. 

“The most difficult challenge with teaching art is the planning and preparation when the schedules change. If everything is planned ahead of time, then it makes the transitions easier during the school week,” said Mr. Thomas Lutz, visual arts teacher. “Plus, patience with the ability to juggle assignments with students as we switch to and from home is a big help as well.”

After a long year of going back and forth between virtual classes and in-person classes, the school has seemed to finally get back to some sort of normalcy. As of April 19, OHS has gone back to five days a week.

“I am so happy to be back!” said Daughaday, “Students are completing projects on the sewing machines and cooking in the kitchens. It’s the best!”

“Being back in the classroom with all students has made a night and day difference in teaching our classes,” said Ayers. “We made more progress in two class periods than in the previous 5 months of virtual and hybrid school.”

Although this year has been difficult for teachers in the planning and implementation in their classes, with those difficulties has also come a learning experience. 

“I have learned to be very flexible, go with the flow, and not take things too seriously. I have also learned (or been reminded) how much of a difference a positive attitude makes,” said Ayres. “Focus on the things that truly matter, and let the other cookies fall as they may.”