Distance learning has been an added challenge for Loyola arts teachers at home. From drawing, acting, piano, design and band, all Loyola fine arts teachers have had to figure out a way to effectively teach their classes in a virtual environment. Visual arts teachers are working from at-homes studios and relying on webcams for demonstrations.
Design, Painting, AP Drawing and AP 3D Studio Art teacher Jocelyn Grau had to adapt her classroom to her home art studio. Although she is able to teach out of her own home, Grau notes that teaching virtually is just not the same as being in the classroom.
Grau said, “There are some atmospheric things missing. I always have music playing in my classroom, but obviously I can’t do that over Zoom. It’s not that we don’t have community over Zoom, but the sense of working together and joking with each other—that’s a special thing, and we cannot do that over Zoom.”
She also noted that there is a lot more planning involved in teaching a class online, such as having to make sure everything is recorded and that each recording is saved, edited and posted on Canvas if she were to do a demo.
Ceramics teacher Patricia Meyers has adjusted by demonstrating the projects she assigns to her class via Zoom.
Meyers said, “It has been a challenging experience setting up my ceramics room in my living room. Working with an extra camera allows me to highlight my projects in real time during class. The school provided us with extensive technology training to make sure we offered the most beneficial teaching experience for our students. With that said, I am constantly working on improving the process for all involved.”
Meyers’s students each picked up 25 pounds of clay and ceramic tools at the beginning of the year along with tools they needed for the class. She demonstrates the project assigned during the class’ Zoom meetings and encourages students to ask for help.
Meyers said, “The students work extremely well on the projects going into great detail and depth in each piece. They are very focused. In my experience, Loyola students ask a lot of questions and are inquisitive about what they are learning and that makes teaching them such a pleasure.”
Teachers also understand that another part of their job is to make sure students are staying healthy mentally. At the end of last year, Grau was doing mental health checks each day to make sure her students were all able to handle the transition. She also alleviated the workload to make learning from home less stressful.
Grau said, “As much as this online thing has been kind of a pain, it has forced me to reevaluate projects, and it has influenced the way I’m doing everything this year.”
Loyola’s art community has been forced to adjust to this new world since COVID-19 hit, and it will continue to do so as long as necessary. The community cannot wait to get back on campus and work together.