The Leesville second period Speech I class is starting their day by singing to a fellow classmate for their birthday. As usual, the class participation is high and the students are supporting one another. (Photo Courtesy of Alexis Mast)
Speech I is a one-semester course taught at Leesville that focuses on orientation and communication, but now during COVID-19, the curriculum is taught differently.
During a normal school year when speech class takes place in an actual classroom, students participate in activities like award ceremonies, role-playing, and hands-on class bonding.
Students’ cameras are encouraged to be on during a typical weekday. Interactive breakout rooms and class discussions to get to know other classmates are the best replacement for what Speech class would be like in-person.
A large bulk of a student’s grade in Speech I is based upon oral presentations and interpretations. This year, there are still days designated for speeches, except the student’s ability to memorize and maintain eye contact is more difficult to grade.
Amy Wedge, the Speech teacher at Leesville, explained how upset she is that her class meets online, via Google Meet. Wedge emphasized that the transition from in-person school to virtual school didn’t just make grading more difficult, but it also decreased student participation and made it increasingly more difficult to get to know her students like she normally would.
As inconvenient as virtual speech class may be, it remains lively according to the students in the class. “Even though it sucks to be virtual for Speech class, I still feel closer to the people in my class than I do with any other class,” said Reed Elks, via a Google Meet.
His classmates agreed with him and described their Speech I class as “a family.”
In virtual learning, class spirit is significantly lower than if it were taught in person, but the Speech I class at Leesville is still involved and has adapted to the changes in the curriculum.