25 minute class periods proves ineffective

Taryn Robinson, Opinions Editor

As the first quarter was coming to an end, the USD 383 Board of Education had to make a decision about how the last two days of school would look like before Thanksgiving break. The board juggled which scenario would be best to keep students from being in contact with others.

In those two days of remote, students attended each of their classes for 25 minutes, and had five minutes to get on to their next class by joining a Zoom call. The calls lasted for all eight class periods, including advisory, and took up the majority of the students’ day, making it hard for them to complete any assignments given to them. 

It is the agreement of The Mentor Editorial Board that 25-minute classes are not productive.

These short and remote class periods were to be treated as a regular school day, just a little different. While this was intended by teachers, many students did not see it that way. Since most of the day was spent on Zoom, students didn’t have a lot of time to work on their own things because they were focused on getting onto the next call, so they could be counted present.

Depending on the class, the 25 minute class time was enough to finish assignments or work on other productive projects. However, most of the time, teachers would only Zoom in with students to count attendance, leaving students with the rest of the 25 minutes to wait for their next class.

Some students did not treat these calls as anything important. The majority didn’t even show their faces to let teachers know they were participating, and were muted the whole zoom call. Not saying a single word the whole time. Some would be scrolling through TikTok, or Snapchat, or even baking while their Zoom was in session. 

While 25 minutes is better than none, some classes don’t have a lot to do. Classes like some college courses, for example, might have something to say to students about an assignment or project, but it could’ve been enough to cover in an email or a CANVAS message.

While most of the complaints were from students, they weren’t the only ones who didn’t benefit  from these calls. Teachers as well as students were cut short on class time, making it nearly impossible to teach anything to their students. The Zoom calls were supposed to resemble class periods, making it so that if anyone had any questions, they could just ask. While this was possible, there is no way teachers could fit a lecture or lesson in twenty five minutes, which is a huge inconvenience to them.

While a huge part of the Zoom calls were to take attendance and possibly fulfill the audit the school needs to, participating in a Zoom call isn’t necessarily marking your presence. Your presence should be simply you doing your work, getting it done right and turning it in on time.

There is some chatter going around about how the Board of Education plans to do this same thing again — before winter break. Students strongly disagree with this way of checking in, and would like to see a different way before winter break if possible.

Perhaps, instead of twenty five minute class periods on Zoom to attend to, teachers could set up certain times to check in with them and get help if you need it. This, along with an email listing the assignments that need to be completed over break, in place of the Zoom calls.