The drama of distance learning

Drama Department perseveres despite distance learning setbacks

President+of+the+Drama+Club+and+senior+Dana+Tween+has+been+a+part+of+the+club+for+almost+four+years.+Tween+creates+a+%22comfortable%22+space+to+support+her+peers+in+the+club.

Carina Muniz

President of the Drama Club and senior Dana Tween has been a part of the club for almost four years. Tween creates a “comfortable” space to support her peers in the club.

Carina Muniz, Editor-at-Large

Although Bonita Vista High (BVH) drama students are away from the stage’s spotlight and now behind a screen, their new routines bring the “passion” many have towards acting even in an unfamiliar environment. Beginning and Intermediate Drama teacher and Drama Club advisor Rosamaria Sias, finds alternatives in teaching Drama to her beginning drama students while Drama Club President Dana Tween and Drama Club Vice President Kailee Wendeln work towards creating a “comfortable” community in the Drama club.

“[Distance learning has] definitely been different. We’re being safe. We’re trying our best [and] it’s been really slow so far because a lot of us [students] are not used to online learning,” Tween said. “But, it’s given us a different way to look at things. We still get to do the things that we love and we’re still doing drama with what we can online.”

According to Sias, distance learning has posed as a “learning curve” for the drama club. Now that drama students are learning online, Sias finds ways to use her previous lesson plans for distance learning.

“I think what I’ve noticed with distance learning is that it really allows us to think in terms of, ‘Well, what can we do that we otherwise would not have been able to do had we been in the theater?’” Sias said.

In order to make theater trouble-free, Sias requires that her drama students use the video-submission application, Flipgrid, so that she can see her students’ online performances. During synchronous time in class, Sias has students participate in theater activities and games that teaches students different aspects of drama.

“[Drama is] actually a lot better than my other classes because we use Flipgrid frequently, and it’s very similar to how it was in school. I’m actually really impressed with how [online Drama Club is] formatted. It’s very similar to being in class,” Wendeln said.

Similar to other classes, many of Sias’s beginning drama students do not turn on their cameras or microphones which makes it harder for Sias to know if the students understand the material. 

“I think that’s the biggest dilemma right now—[student’s] fear [of] the judgement of others and their peers,” Sias said. “I’m just trying my best to [do] more team building activities and just have fun so that they break down those barriers and be vulnerable, and really maximize their full potential.”

As the president of the Drama Club, Tween supports her peers by ensuring that everybody in the club is “comfortable,” “kind” and “friendly” with each other.

“[Drama Club is] a family, I like to say, which is really cliché, but we want to make sure that everyone is comfortable. I’ve been in drama for four years now and I tell everybody that it’s going to be awkward because you don’t know people and you don’t know the teacher, but, we all treat each other like a family,” Tween said.

Currently, Tween and Wendeln, along with the rest of Sias’s students, are working with the Associated Student Body to create a “spooky skit” for Halloween. According to Sias, the skit will be released on Oct. 30, 2020, to all of BVH. Additionally, Sias has other plans to direct a virtual play for her Drama Club to enact.

“We [drama students] don’t get to interact as much, which I really miss because drama class is a lot of fun. We all get to hang out together and do little plays when we make jokes and stuff. We don’t really get to do more of that one-on-one interaction that much anymore, and I do miss that,” Wendeln said.