The affect Covid-19 has had on performing arts classes

Read about how Covid-19 has had an effect on the Theatre program at La Joya Community High School.

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Megan Arvizo

This image is representing how the coronavirus pandemic caused a lot of us to go from in person meetings to having to do it at how from zoom.

Megan Arvizo , Staff

Katie Ludlow the theatre teacher at La Joya Community High School talks about how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted her theatre program and how she felt during the time of online school last year. 

A lady standing next to a stage with her left hand on her hip
Katie Ludlow the theatre and stage production teacher at La Joya community High School (Megan Arvizo)

An extended spring break of 2020 turned into a year of quarantine and online school for most students around the world. With things being online that meant students were stopped from doing extracurricular and normal everyday activities at school.

When asked about her reaction to going online Katie Ludlow said:

“And it was, it was rough. I knew I was not going to be good at it, I was a terrible online student. I had the six online classes I took in college. Only one of them. Did I get higher than a C… That was like this (teaching online) is, this is not going to be easy.” Said Ms. Ludlow

A row of empty Movie Theatre seats
The empty theatre is used to represent how there have been no in person performances at La Joya Community High School in over a year. (JanneM)

The performing arts department during this time had to get creative in the way that they taught and did their performances some of that including zoom calls, submitting videos on Flipgrid, having to film performances and then sending them out or even having to get used to teaching hybrid once in person. For some teachers like Ms. Ludlow that was the biggest adjustment to going back in person.

“I felt like I was either. I was either isolating my in person kids or isolating my online students, and it was not successful, and the education that my online students compared to my in person students was not the same…” said Ms. Ludlow

Ms. Ludlow even explained how in her stage production class she had to try and teach her in person and online students how to hang a light fixture and find a way to teach them with out them being there she did this by propping her laptop up facing her that way the students online could get a visual of what they should be doing.

Being online put a huge pause on the way teachers could get to know there students and build relationships with them, especially in a program like theatre where the best part of that class is seeing your students perform and getting to see how they took to your teaching over the course of a year.

“It’s (building relationships with classes) the nature of theatre, and I wasn’t getting that. And it was, it just felt it was for the amount of work, I had to put in for classes to be okay. It wasn’t it there wasn’t enough of that like satisfaction you get when you see like performance in your class.” Said Ms. Ludlow 

There is a flyer for a school play that says "A Chance written and directed by Katie Ludlow", then there is a picture of people holding hands
A flyer for the first school play put on at La Joya Community High School since the pandemic. (Katie Ludlow )

Due to being quarantined and online for a year there were not any extracurricular activities for any of the students or teachers to participate in so a lot of teachers had to get back in the groove and relearn how to do a lot of things that before was second nature to them. Even though theatre was able to put on a few performances last year they still were not quite the same as years before and now that things are kind of getting back to normal the theatre program is having to take it slow and keep it simple while they still get used to things.

“My standard of a play before, pre-pandemic, which for me. I want beautiful lights, I want sound and I, you know, sound effects, I have really pretty decent set pieces, and for this show. I, I’m glad I picked the show because it’s it’s a little more simple, because I think if that was the case, I would have been overwhelmed by that, if that makes sense.” said Ms. Ludlow 

La Joya community High School has officially rapped on their first in-person performance at La Joya with “A Chance” by Katie Ludlow but this will hopefully not be all for the program because they hope to have another spring show, a few showcases, a haunted house for Trunk or Treat, an improv show and a murder mystery dinner later this school year.

Let’s all continue to do our parts and stay safe inside and outside of school or work to ensure that we get things back to normal a little quicker and so we all do not have to go back into yet another year of isolation.