Hands on Classes in a Virtual World


David Rudd

This unprecedented year has led to many adjustments needing to be made across society. Restaurants are adjusting their dining rooms to better accommodate safety measures, stores are turning isles directional and schools are mostly virtual. Many teachers smoothly transitioned into teaching their classes online. However, some teachers ran into problems stemming from the fundamentals of their course. Core classes such as Math and English can be seamlessly integrated into a digital format. West Boca’s course selection is vast, and many classes are dependent on physical activities that do not translate well into a digital format. TV production, physical education, culinary, ceramics, and art are some of the classes where students need to physically interact with materials. Teachers and the students of these classes have had to make larger adjustments than anyone.



The newspaper, which began its digital version in early 2019, has continued to write articles. While the newsroom-like atmosphere of a classroom sparks ideas and creativity, the Bullseye is producing at a rapid rate. Other classes, however, are struggling to keep up with their usual goals.


TV Production

TV Production is exploring ways to produce videos that can be shared with students remotely. Ms. Whittaker, the class’s teacher, expressed how much students miss interacting with one another and how essential that element is to staying motivated and producing quality content. She then went on to explain the opportunities presented by such a unique situation. Students in the class have strengthened their skills in video editing and creative expression.



Another class that has had to make a large adjustment is yearbook. The majority of students are working from home. Students still have the ability to construct the yearbook, however, the yearbook is dependent on highlighting students’ experiences throughout campus. The yearbook will include the “ups and downs of quarantine” and will do its best to be as close to normal.



Chef Baumeyer’s culinary classes have been largely affected by distanced learning. Students in his class participate in a physical activity that is difficult to replicate at home. Students completed a home inventory and are asked to cook at home to the best of their ability.



At the moment, the theater department plans on holding two shows this year. The first show, entitled The Brothers Grimm Speculathon, will be restructured and performed online. The second show will be a radio drama which has not yet been selected. Students still have the ability to learn their parts and study other plays while digital.



West Boca’s art class is also an interesting subject. Its teacher, Mr. Bruckner, compared the day to day of the class to a “Bob Ross drawing show.” The students watch the example in order to learn how a given task can be approached. Watching Mr. Bruckner draw does necessarily mean students will copy him, but rather get an idea of how an artist approaches an idea.

Mr. Bruckner hopes that students will continue to display their individuality and unique views of the world while continuing to develop artistic skills and techniques. Many classes have struggled with a similar problem, but art students may be struggling the most with the lack of one-on-one discussions with the teacher. Mr. Bruckner highlighted the importance of a teacher’s suggestions and opinions.


Physical Education

In terms of health education, students are still getting a strong education. However, students in HOPE are losing out on much of their physical activity. Students are not allowed to get outside and instead are required to stay at their desks. In an attempt to keep students active, P.E. teachers are requiring students to log their physical activities at home. Mr, Currier explained that he has been showing his students motivational videos in order to encourage them to stay active. However, Mr. Currier states that he still feels there is a quote “huge gap” in what his class should achieve and what it is achieving. In his final year as a teacher, Mr. Currier writes, “We are all trying to do our best with what we have to work with. I feel the students are being cheated out of a great education and great high school experiences.”


Drafting and Design

Students in the drafting and design academy have focused on photography. Photographs can be taken by students at home with relatively few materials. Phone’s cameras have become high enough quality to create professional looking images with. Furthermore, students at school are screen printing. Like so many other classes, students are limited in the work they can produce. 



In West Boca’s dance class, students begin every class with a warm-up in their own homes. Following that, the class consists of learning combinations or choreography. Students then learn about famous dancers and learn historic techniques. In a regular school year, students dance throughout the class in the school’s dance studio. Dance students, like so many others, are especially missing each other. Dancing routines are dependent on coordinating yourselves with others. This has led to the incredibly difficult take of producing and choreographing a routine over Google Meet. A lot is still up in the air, but West Boca would like to hold a performance for students, parents, and teachers. 


We should all applaud West Boca’s teachers for adapting their classes for a virtual environment. Some classes are extremely dependent on students completing physical work. However, teachers across the school are still giving their students a valuable and relevant education.