Keeping class safe and interactive outside

Lauren Griffin '22, Staff Writer

Grosse Pointe South’s Band has been practicing outside socially distanced in small groups. Photo courtesy of Lauren Griffin ’22.

The new normal is working and learning from behind a screen. Yet, Interactive classes, like AP Biology, Band and Choir, who require hands-on learning have found a way to overcome the restrictions COVID-19 has put on them. By meeting safely in masks, in small groups and social distancing.

According to the Shanker Institute, there have been major concerns about teachers’ wellbeing. Band teacher Christopher Takis says teaching from behind a screen is a “soul sucking” experience.

“I really miss not being able to see my students face to face,” Takis said. “So, Wednesday night marching band rehearsals, in many cases, are the highlight of my week.”

Students can benefit from this too. For Cat Poleski ’23, these band rehearsals give her an opportunity to get out of the house and see people.

“I think the rehearsals are definitely helpful,” Poleski said. “It’s difficult to learn your part when you’re not able to play with an ensemble.”

Science teacher Shelly Rothenbuler has met with her AP Biology class only a few times. She made sure students sanitized their hands when they arrived and left. She said everyone kept their masks on at all times. She also spaced her students out, making sure they were social distancing.

“(Meeting with my students) was great,” Rothenbuler said. “That was probably my favorite three days so far this school year.”

Varsity Women’s Choir member Olivia Fyre ’22 thinks bonding with her fellow choirmates is important, especially for the sake of competitions. She says it is helpful to get to know people.

“We’ve all been cooped up in our houses,” Fyre said. “I do (enjoy meeting with classmates). It’s nice to see them outside of our Zoom calls. It’s nice to be outside, too, but I’m worried when it gets a little colder what are we going to do.”

Takis says he is more nervous than excited to go back to school. According to Local 4 News, there has been a recent rise in COVID-19 cases. Takis remains cautiously optimistic though, but his main concern is safety.

“I don’t know how much playing will get done during classes, because being able to play instruments indoors isn’t the most safe thing to do right now,” Takis said. “But there’s a lot of teaching that I can do. I am really looking forward to being able to do that, face to face, as long as we can do it safely.”

Rothenbuler enjoyed spending time with her class and is looking forward to going back to school. She reminds herself to find the good in things during these unusual times.

“I’m just very grateful that we were allowed the opportunity to do some lab work,” Rothenbuler said. “I just try to make the best out of what we have and try to keep a positive outlook.”