Elective classes: what’s changed this year?

Matthew Kim, Segments Editor

While virtual learning has presented challenges in the core classes of science, math, history, and english, Amador’s elective classes including ceramics, art, and video production have been especially impacted by the caveats of distance learning. 

For many students, elective classes are some of the most entertaining and fulfilling classes to take in highschool. They include a wide array of classes including ceramics, choir, band, and culinary arts. They allow students to engage in hands-on learning and to develop useful skills that will be necessary outside the classroom. 

“Some of my favorite classes in high school have definitely been the elective classes we can take. I took culinary arts and it was super fun and interesting to do something like cooking in class. I think they not only provide like stress relief but they teach skills that I’ve actually been able to use,” said Brett Miller (‘21).

Because classes were entirely virtual this year, teachers had to adapt their teaching strategies and instructions. Ceramics in particular required a complete shift in class expectations due to a lack of required equipment, such as kilns and clay, due to virtual learning. 

However, while a lack of equipment and school facilities presented itself as a problem for electives like ceramics, other elective classes like band and orchestra had to deal with the challenge of playing instruments and organizing themselves over zoom. 

“Playing instruments over zoom was certainly challenging. One of the main issues is that we can’t actually hear each other because we need to stay mute due to lag and just the chaos of over 50 instruments at the same time. It was definitely very tough not being able to play as a group, but we were lucky to be able to go back in person and practice,” said Grace Chen (‘21). 

For some elective classes, including band, choir, and drama, distance learning has also presented challenges in terms of performances and events that usually would be held. Because of Covid restrictions things such as concerts and shows were impossible during the beginning of the year. However we saw many different adaptations in the face of the Covid Pandemic. 

“This year definitely made it hard for our orchestra to have any performances at all. However, at the end of the year we were actually able to finally have a performance. It looked very different, especially with all the masks and the distancing but we were able to perform for our friends and families.” said Chen.

In some instances, virtual learning provided a unique take on certain elective classes. Students in culinary arts as well as band were able to perform different types of activities as well. For culinary specifically, many students were able to use their own appliances as well as ingredients, making dishes and recipes to share with their families. 

This year has certainly required ingenuity and resilience in the face of the changing times, and the elective classes at Amador truly reflect this. From culinary to ceramics to band and drama, while electives may have looked completely different, students were still able to have fun, learn, and enjoy all these wonderful classes have to offer.