Photo by CeCe Lampa
York’s fourth week of remote learning came to a close as students and staff adjusted to their daily Zoom schedules. Many core classes are challenging to teach remotely, but the York’s Industrial Technology (IT) and Family and Consumer Science (FCS) departments face additional difficulties because their curriculum includes mostly hands-on learning.
IT and FCS teachers were presented with challenges as to how they could bring the learning environment of the automotive lab or preschool classroom into virtual classes. Classes such as Automotive, Wood working, CAD Drafting, Manufacturing and others included in the IT courses use specific computer programs and workshops located in school. The FCS courses, classes such as Baking and Pastry, Invite to Teach, Child Development and Chef’s Corner, use the kitchen labs at York and the preschool classroom. Despite these obstacles, IT and FCS teachers entered into their virtual school year with positivity and anticipation.
“Well I try not to stress as most of this is out of my hands, unpredictable, challenging, and just plain crazy sometimes,” Child Development and Invite to Teach teacher Laurie Crist said. “I stay positive, and go with the flow as best as I can and just want to make sure I can support my students to the best of my ability.”
Most of the IT classes require a special lab or equipment to truly grasp the concepts taught. In courses with woodworking and manufacturing, students usually are spending the majority of their time in the workshop. However, teachers readjusted their curriculum to maximize the time students spend in the workshops when hybrid learning begins. Daniel Calenberg, one of York’s IT teachers, shared a strategy they now implement for remote learning. Calenberg has taught Woodworking and Manufacturing for 17 years at York. He advises students to complete assignments in a timely manner in order to optimize their time in the shop.
“While we are remote, we are trying to cover as much about theory and safety as possible,” Calenberg said. “By covering this online, we are able to spend almost all of our time in the labs working on projects.”
In the FCS department, the culinary courses utilize the kitchen in their learning. In Baking and Pastry, students are given the opportunity to try new recipes in their home that demonstrate the same skills learned virtually. Students display their knowledge of the importance of specific ingredients in food preparation and skills such as measuring and proper kitchen etiquette.
“I personally prefer baking alone, so I don’t mind that. But I know it’s probably hard for a lot of people who are newer to the FCS programs,” junior and Baking and Pastry student Ellen Freund said. “I love how my teacher has handled it. She is showing us videos to prepare us and having us stay on the Zoom call, on mute and with camera off, so that we can ask her questions as we are making the food.”
It is a struggle for the IT and FCS teachers to bring the essence of working in a workshop or lab. Teachers continue to strongly emphasize that students give their best effort in their classes. Teachers advise students to take initiative and challenge themselves. They also encourage them to engage during Zoom classes by turning on their cameras or speaking more.
“When we are able to build connections and interact with each other in class, it makes it more enjoyable for everyone,” FCS teacher Abbey Testin said.