Coronavirus Curriculum kills/crushes Creativity

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Dylan Brehm, Op-Ed

I believe that the district has taken the best approach it could have in regards to Covid-19 schedule changes. I also believe that students, as a whole, have had to muster and persist to even keep a grade that they could have easily gotten before comprehensive distant learning (CDL). The work may not be any harder and the classes may have the same or, in many cases, far fewer requirements, but the factor that CDL can never compensate for is the excitement.

Now, exciting may be one of the last words used to describe the average high school day, but there is no doubt that online the hope for something fun or at least being in class with someone fun is taken away. Am I asking for every zoom class to have a stand-up comedian on call? No. All I ask is that Mountainside considers injecting creativity back into the curriculum once schedules return to normal. 

Many students neglect the idea of having a creative outlet. Having a creative outlet is necessary because it allows ourselves to represent who we are. It also helps us define who we are through our art or creation.. We are flooded with assignments and the constant deluge makes it hard for us to desire to do anything more.. Inspiration makes work much more enjoyable and much faster. Right now within CDL and the Lang and Lit curriculum, there is no inspiration.

I believe that school should prioritize teaching students application of school skills to the real world. Creative writing is unique in this way because it allows us to take what we learn from analyzing literature and to apply it to our own writing. It encourages students. Senior Riley Hoerner described taking a Creative Writing class and said, “it definitely helped me look at writing differently, and as a creative outlet instead of just an assignment.” If academics only occur within school hours, then there’s not much point in learning them.

The largest criticism of creative writing is that there is already a class for it. This is objectively true. However, Mountainside’s IB status dictates that we must take a career path to graduate and Creative Writing falls under none of the categories.  Also, people say that it is a non-essential life skill, so there is no need to “bog” down the class with it. Sophomore Brian Nguyen said it well, “It makes writing more fun. Less boring and such.” Creative Writing develops writing skills, and writing skills are essential, even more so in an increasingly digital world. 

In conclusion, while there are many criticisms of including creative writing into the curriculum, it is certainly an important and vital piece to feed into the classroom. Without the inspiration and application of creative writing, English and writing itself become dull and unattractive. Simply, as Senior Katherine Whitcomb put it, “Creative Writing breaks down the limits to imagination.”