Making It Work: Back to school

Posted at 7:17 AM, Aug 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-02 07:31:06-04

CINCINNATI — Students and teachers had to make some drastic changes during the pandemic, and Lee Black, the band director at the School for Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA), said the changes were unwanted but necessary.

Black said band classes went from students performing together to a group of solo projects as learning went virtual.

"A band is a group of people together," he said. "So, teaching band during the pandemic was really an oxymoron in the fact that everyone was, was remote and separate."

Black's students would each record themselves playing, and then send him their videos each night. That meant that Black had about 150 recordings to listen to on top of coming up with lesson plans.

Despite two decades of teaching, Black said it felt like it was his first year teaching again.

"Everyone was a first year teacher again," he said. "You know, it was like, we didn't know how to prepare for the next week... it was kind of like everyone was treading water trying to survive."

As schools come out of the pandemic, Black said he doesn't want to see videos from every student, but he plans on utilizing the technology they've been using for the past year. He said he plans to have periodic checks with his students just to check where they are.

He hopes that the flexibility teachers and students used over the past year can be a reminder moving forward.

"Last year everyone was bending like a palm tree," Black said. "It was just something that we weren't prepared for the last pandemic was over 100 years ago, and the teachers then didn't leave as many notes on what to do."