Students, teachers need to focus on content to make up time this school year

Kris Long, Opinions Editor

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In order to accommodate for construction, the USD 383 school district has shortened the school year by six days and added 15 minutes onto the end of every school day. Around two minutes will be added to class on regular schedule days and two minutes to passing period on block schedule days. With the change in the schedule, the question has arisen of how teachers can be expected to deliver the same amount of content in six fewer days with only two minutes added onto the end of class to compensate.

It is the opinion of The Mentor editorial board that in order to do this, teachers must focus more on delivering content in an engaging way, focusing less on reviewing, study hall and worksheets.

If teachers spend more time in their classes delivering the content necessary to complete the course, it is possible to cover the content in the time constraints. This means less busy work. By the time students are 14, a coloring sheet is no longer an engaging way to cover content. Worksheets and assignments like video guides will take up time that we no longer have. To make class more engaging for students, teachers should focus on doing more hands-on activities, which will be easier with slightly longer classes.

Another way to maximize time is to start class immediately after the bell rings. Often times the first few minutes of class is spent quieting the class down and gathering supplies for the day. If students are expected to be ready when the bell rings, more content could be covered. This is more doable on block days with more time in passing periods. It’s particularly important to start class on time in first hour and after lunch, as these classes often take the longest to get started.

This responsibility is largely out of teacher’s control, which means students will need to step up and take the responsibility of arriving to class on time and being prepared every day. 

With less effective time in class, time will inevitably be cut from reviewing. This means students will have take it upon themselves to review outside of school more often. While this may be seen as inconvenient, it will force students to learn how to review by themselves, rather than rely on teacher’s Kahoot games and cramming five minutes before the test. 

The student editorial poll, in which 137 MHS students voted between breaks, moving around during class or participating in multiple activities per class period as the best way to help them stay focused, voted to give students breaks during class. 

According to a study published by The Association of Physiological Science, giving students breaks is beneficial by giving them a chance to reflect on their work. While students work more productively during class if given breaks, the editorial board decided these shouldn’t be necessary, excluding block days. A break every 50 minutes should be sufficient for students our age.

Teachers and students both need to change their behavior in order to be more productive to meet the time constraints imposed this school year.