Updated: Dec 1, 2020
Albert Einstein once said “It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression & knowledge.” However, many teachers are struggling to awaken this joy in their students due to Covid-19. In an interview, three North Little Rock High School Theatre Arts Department teachers -Kim Stanley, Mike Noland, and Josh Shipman- expand upon the struggles that they are facing throughout the pandemic. Teachers are extremely concerned about the fading connections between their students and themselves. “I don’t feel like I’m connecting with my students as well,” debate coach Stanley explains. Losing these connections are heartbreaking for many teachers all over the country. Overtime, the conditions within schools get harder to keep up with. North Little Rock, alongside Cabot and many other schools, has implemented “remote learning Fridays,” to try and help teachers catch up with the chaotic conditions that they are having to work in. The theatre community, alongside the teachers,is struggling heavily due to the pandemic. For example, Broadway´s doors have shut down until May of 2021, and anyone could imagine the impact that this is having on actors and those who work throughout the theatre. But even in schools, teachers are finding it difficult to come up with ways to ensure that ¨the show must go on.¨ Head forensics coach, musical director, and script writer Mike Noland addresses the impact that the masks themselves have on the theatre. ¨We need the expression and emotion that´s one of the biggest factors.¨ This makes it difficult to help students overall, because teachers are not able to teach them new emotions. Theaters, all over the world are feeling this negative impact, through all sectors of the department. Stagecraft teacher, Josh Shipman emphasizes the effect that it is having on the crew and set builders. ¨It makes us sad that there is nothing we can really do to help out,¨ he states. Teachers all over are feeling what Stanley, Noland, and Shipmen expressed. If there's a teacher out there today who is reading this we love you, we see you, and we hear you. You inspire us everyday to become better human beings, and members in our society. Thank you to all teachers, especially our theater teachers who work so hard to ensure that their students get to be part of something bigger than themselves. So as students, what can we do to show our appreciation, not only for theaters, but also our teachers and education as a whole. First we must bring awareness to the problem, and can do so by informing fellow students through resources such as social media. Through this you, yourself can share links to support actors, teachers, and theaters as a whole. Even though we have a long road to recovery from a “broken leg,” we will be excited to get this show on the road.
North Little Rock High School