Pursuing Electives from a distance

Andrew Austin, Reporter

Electives have and will continue to always be a highlight of everyone’s high school career. With the current pandemic, these fields have become more difficult to pursue because of social distancing requirements and lack of access to school for materials and supplies. However, many teachers are finding ways to adapt to these changes by altering their class for online learning, and many students are taking advantage of the time at home to hone their craft even more.

Adapting these classes hasn’t necessarily been easy, as new focuses have had to be put on different aspects of the classes.

They have learned to be adaptable through the hardship”

— Janette Adrian

“We are doing a lot of the industry training,” states Project Bike Tech teacher Mr. Paul Steiner. “This past week we did things like suspension and design and how different designs cause different styles of riding. We’ve pretty much been focusing on the business end and the design engineering side of it right now.” 

Along with this, the Bike Tech class is doing other things to have some fun in the class. 

“We’ve also been doing a lot of fun things,” Steiner explains,  “like a lot of riding videos and stuff to stay positive.”

However this change of focus doesn’t mean the class is any less interesting. Students have been able to keep themselves interested by spending even more time doing what they love, even if it’s in slightly different ways than usual.

“It’s not as bad as I thought it would be,” Project Bike Tech student Bryan Gutierrez Hernandez ‘20 reflects. “I thought it would be very boring, just like reading lots of articles and stuff, but it’s not. It’s still fun, since the videos make it interesting to engage in the assignment” 

To continue the hands-on aspect of the class, Gutierrez Hernandez  has been able to work on his bikes at home. 

Bryan Gutierrez Hernandez '20

“I have a few bikes in my home which I’ve been working on,” Gutierrez Hernandez explains.  “And since I go riding often, I try to keep them up to date with maintenance, so I’ve been working on them anytime I can after I go ride.”

Students in other elective classes have found their own ways to go above and beyond through these unforeseen circumstances.

“I think some students are realizing their potential,” says Mr. Bret Moyer, Foods and Nutrition teacher. “I have some kids who are used to cooking in groups, and from the outside it looks they may be doing less than others. But I’ve had some really big surprises of some kids that have been turning in the work and have been really crushing it.”

Even though students and teachers are adapting to e-learning electives, there are still challenges.

First year EVHS Art teacher Ms. Janette Adrian says, “It’s a lot less work to actually make a lesson in school, because you deliver it live in the classroom, but here you’re setting up a video, you’re writing out pages of instructions that have to be clear and organized because it’s only a one time delivery as opposed to being adaptable in the classroom. So it’s a lot more work teaching and grading online.” 

The sentiment is also shared by students, as they also face challenges, specifically with communication.

“If you have a question about the class I think it’s harder to reach out to your teacher because of the separation,” shared Logan Betz ‘23, a Foods and Nutrition student.

Although the remote electives are not what anyone prefers, the life skills that students have learned through their distance learning electives have been an unexpected positive outcome. 

“The biggest thing students can learn from this outside of content is just how to advocate for themselves,” explained Moyer. “You don’t have a teacher standing over your shoulder right now. If you don’t understand something you really have to reach out to a teacher or a friend on your own. I think kids can really learn to be self reliant during this time, which is a really hard skill to learn.”

And so it seems that students and teachers with an open mind to try new things with their class during this pandemic have been able to be the most successful as well.

“I feel kids are doing great adjusting to using what they have… They have learned to be adaptable through the hardship” said Adrian.