An Independent School • Grades 5-12

by Hans de Grys, academic dean/Upper School assistant director

Teaching and learning in the hybrid setting is hard. And faculty and staff have been pulling out all the stops to make it happen with their characteristic determination, creativity, and good humor. I’ve watched history teachers run a weekly half-marathon down the Bliss hallways as they race from room 215, where six of their students are having class, to room 203, where seven more are learning. They do this 10 times or more per period, multiple periods per day. They try to catch a breath in the hallways as they check in with the four remote students at home.

I’ve seen English teachers become tech experts, troubleshooting bad audio connections and deploying sophisticated lesson plans while streaming on Zoom, monitoring the chat in MS Teams, and answering questions in person. Chinese is being taught in the portable classrooms, and precalculus in the Yoga studio. Socially distanced chemistry labs happen with kids at school partnering up with students at home. And our students are rolling with it all, with patience, grace, and positive attitudes. 

I watch them sitting alone at their desks, masked up and bundled against the cold, as the wind whips through the open windows scattering papers and stiffening fingers. They clean their desks at the end of each class, dutifully following the one-way signs in the hallways, and stay socially distanced from their friends as well as you could possibly ask teenagers to do. They wrap their band instruments in special fabric and stand under tents and play beautiful music together in the rain as their maestro urges them on. And they do it with smiles, and with laughs, and furious waves “hello” and “thumbs up” signs and virtual fist bumps. It is hard, and they are rolling with it better than we could have possibly imagined.