How would we have handled virtual education?


Good Mornin’! Good Mornin’!

The educational landscape had a massive remodeling last spring as COVID-19 shut down schools and athletics and events.

Teachers were sent home to scramble together an online curriculum to finish out the year and possibly be put to the test for a future of online classes and virtual education.

Now my schooling began in 1969 at CDA and continued to Indianola Academy in 1978 with my graduation in 1981 as the number 48 student in a class of 96. When I asked my editor for a column idea, he threw out, “What would a virtual education have looked like in your day?”

I shudder to think what would have and could have happened. Educating at home, hmmm. Back then there was only one telephone and it hung on the wall in the middle of the hall.

For privacy you’d crawl into the vacuum cleaner closet and try to shut the door and nestle yourself amongst old coats, blankets and the decades old vacuum. I’d imagine there would have been an old clunky computer that barely hooked up to even a dial up Internet.

And being on a party line out on Three Mile Lake Road, I’m sure my classes would have been interrupted quite often by the other homes’ need to make a call.

But let’s just say for the sake of this column that Zoom existed, there was at least some type of broadband available and a laptop was actually something.

More than likely I’d be set up in the little used dining room sitting on a chair not designed for more than an hour’s use for my rear end.  I’m sure as a high school boy of the late 70s and early 80s, I’d get up as late as possible and rush to the table, probably with a John Deere hat firmly in place.

Hygiene would have been the last thing on our minds but I’m sure the excess of Miss America level beauties in our class would have all been going through their morning routines and looked as lovely on screen as they did in our hallways and classrooms.

They’d sure have my attention but I’m not so sure about the teachers.

But how would discipline be doled out?

For every prank played by Dale Spencer (he actually took all the typewriter “golf balls” that actually did the typing and class was cancelled) how would the coaches get their hands on him for a few licks?

I reckon teachers and administrators would give a call to daddies at the end of the day and that discipline would be efficiently handled.

Choir and madrigals would have been a fun Zoom get together trying to harmonize and fight Internet delays to find the excellence we all sought.

I’m sure we would have handled it in some way. But I’m glad we didn’t have to and I feel bad for those in today’s world that do have to try and find ways to handle it.

Looking back on high school, the camaraderie in the hallways, in the lunchroom, in the classroom and practice fields are what make the educational experience special.

That’s not something you can get in a Zoom class or anywhere on the internet.

Let’s keep praying, wash our hands and put on a mask when needed and find a way to all get back together.

I know we’d all much rather see those Miss America smiles in person and not electronically.

Mark Stowers is a regular columnist for The E-T. He can be reached at


They are the perfect definition of a work in progress.

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