Missing School or Missing School?

FHC teachers and coaches are working to navigate the absence of school and their sports season.

Mr.+Lober+looks+over+class+material+smiling+as+he+helps+a+student+with+her+questions.+Mr.+Lober+teaches+AP+European+history%3B+a+course+with+a+heavy+memorization+workload.+

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Mr. Lober looks over class material smiling as he helps a student with her questions. Mr. Lober teaches AP European history; a course with a heavy memorization workload.

By Kierigan McEvoy, Francis Howell Central High School

No more waking up at, roughly, 5 a.m. No more lesson plans. No more grading homework. No more school; period. Well, at least not until Monday, April 6. You would think that some would jump for joy at the thought of not having to deal with annoying high school students for an extra two weeks, but math teacher Mrs. Dena Dauve neither finds high school students annoying nor are jumping for joy about the situation. Instead, the feeling upon hearing school was canceled for a few extra weeks was that of concern for the wellbeing of students and faculty alike.

“At first I was surprised, but then relieved once we got more of an idea of how quickly things were changing around the world,” Mrs. Dauve said. “I had been thinking about a plan for Calc, especially, days before Spring Break, so I felt somewhat prepared. Knowing that this virus is doubling, and in some cases, tripling, in frequency everyday reassures me that the district made the right call.”

Even when “somewhat prepared” there are still unknowns ahead, and the hardest thing about the unknowns is simply not knowing. Will the lesson videos make sense? Will students understand them? What if something doesn’t upload right? What if all the material isn’t covered? These are constant questions circling the heads of teachers like Mrs. Dauve, who teach AP courses like Calculus AB as well as regular courses like Algebra 2.

This has been the best year, full of fun, kind, hard-working, caring kids, and I want to be able to finish the year with them. THEY deserve that!”

— Mrs. Dena Dauve

“I specifically started thinking of a plan for Calc before Spring Break started, and I feel like it’s a sufficient plan,” Mrs. Dauve explained. “I worry about Algebra 2, partly because of the importance of the chapters that are coming up, especially for those students who will take College Algebra next year, or Pre-Calculus. I want all of my students to feel prepared walking into next year, and not to feel slighted.”

It’s not just teachers who are worried either. Teachers who are also coaches (specifically spring coaches) are likewise having the same concerns about their players feeling slighted this season. These coaches include Mr. Donald Lober, the freshman girls’ lacrosse coach, and Mr. Taylor Yocum, the junior varsity girls soccer coach.

“As a coach, this has been really odd,” Coach Yocum reflected. “My first thoughts go out to the kids that are missing some of their senior year season. Then I think about the short amount of time in a high school season. As the JV coach, my job is to develop the girls for varsity. The majority of that development comes in practice sessions. So, I have had to make at home workouts for the girls to do during our time off. I know they are better than nothing, but I still know we are missing something by not being able to get together.”

Missing a sports season isn’t easy, but especially not for those who this could be their last time in a Spartan uniform and the season had barely begun.

“I feel for our seniors who were looking forward to their final seasons as a Spartan,” Coach Lober said. “I am hopeful that their seasons can be salvaged.”

At this point, a lot of thoughts and feelings from teachers and coaches alike are really with the class of 2020. They know the toll this closure has taken on them; the uncertainty and anxiety it has brought to them.

“Honestly, it’s the fear of not being able to spend the rest of the year with my amazing group of kids,” Mrs. Dauve said. “This has been the best year, full of fun, kind, hard-working, caring kids, and I want to be able to finish the year with them. THEY deserve that! I want the Class of 2020 to have a proper end of the year, filled with all of the amazing things that they have been looking forward to since they were freshmen. THEY deserve that! I will be heart-broken if they don’t get to participate in all of those traditions.”

This story was originally published on FHC Today on March 20, 2020.