“I want to teach my students that there are always alternatives to things and I especially want to show off the hard work they are doing in their projects this year.”
Akiko Kato, McMath’s Home Economics teacher, was more than frustrated when schools switched to online classes during the COVID-19 pandemic, but that did not stop him and his students from launching their online fashion show.
“When the (school) art night was canceled in May, I just couldn’t imagine canceling a fashion show,” Kato said, adding that it would be the second year he brought the show back to school.
“Many students are not happy with the idea because they are shy and do not want to show their faces to the camera, but in the end, each student submits a video to be put together as one.”
The final result of the fashion show video, said Kato, received a lot of positive feedback from students and parents, and that his class could not have done it without the help of DiAnne Simonson, a fellow household economics teacher.
Kato, who has taught at McMath since 2008, said online classes during the first week were “terrible” and “total chaos.”
“My biggest concern is how I will teach sewing and cooking to my students because they are practical classes,” Kato said.
“I feel like I work 24/7 and many of my students forget their passwords to online portals, which makes me travel back to school to rearrange them so they can check their schoolwork.”
However, students are slowly adapting to online courses and sewing and cooking videos, Kato said.
“Students have limited access to material at home and must learn to be flexible with what they make,” he added.
Textile students are asked to use cloth from old clothes and plastic bags to sew their projects, while food classes have to cook food for their families using materials they have access to at home.
Hania Elheniedy, an 11th grade textile student, said at first it was difficult to ask for help when she found a problem.
“It’s much harder to get support for projects that are very physical, and it’s not like (I) can go to Ms. Kato to ask for help,” Elheniedy said.
“Although the classes were difficult at first, I felt it was fun at the same time especially working in an online fashion show.”
Meanwhile, Bruce Yang, a 9th grade food student, said taking online classes for cooking was interesting and a different experience.
“In class, we have classmates who help each other, but at home doing online classes. You have to do your own research on recipes and watch YouTube videos and send emails to teachers when you need help, “Yang said.
Home Economics, said Kato, is about learning life skills.
“I hope my students learn skills that they can use in the future and that they learn there is a silver line in every situation.”
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