Commentary

In Support of Seven Short Sprints

I sit at my desk at one in the morning, studying sine, cosine and tangent identities. Advanced Placement decomposition reactions and “The Aeneid” revolve constantly in the back of my mind. Thanksgiving is as close as ever, but it feels so far away. The cumulative tests that we will take during Extended Period week are confusing to study for all at once.

I think that the current schedule should be changed to the first proposed schedule for the 2017-2018 school year. The first proposed schedule involves seven terms with three classes per term. All classes will be about 75-90 minutes, although the specifics are not yet finalized. With this new schedule, students can break one huge task into smaller and easier steps. Instead of taking five classes for four terms, taking three classes for seven terms will benefit students’ focus and commitment to classes, allowing for a more adaptable course of study.

First, simply the fact that there would be fewer classes to focus on each term would allow students to focus more on the subjects that they are taking. Since the classes will be longer, teachers will have the opportunity to utilize class times to focus the course on classwork rather than an excessive amount of homework review. The amount of homework for each class may slightly increase, but since the student will be taking two fewer classes, the overall homework amount will not increase. The benefit of this, however, is that all of the homework and classes will be more connected, building on previous concepts extensively. There are nights when I have chemistry problems, math worksheets, Latin translations and English essays to write. Instead of having to switch modes frequently between assignments, I could do homework to supplement my knowledge of fewer subjects, and it would be less overwhelming.

Additionally, the increased number of terms would give students a fresh opportunity every five weeks. In the current schedule, there are only three terms with ten weeks each. If a student does not perform well on a test, they will be stressing the entire term to try to make the grade up. If a new term started every four to five weeks, however, students would be given a chance to start over.

Another benefit of the increased number of terms is the motivation it would promote within students. Every end of the term, students are motivated by the fact that there are only a few weeks left before the end of the term. If we had seven terms, there would be more times in the schedule to motivate students. Furthermore, the fact that a set of grades would come out seven times per year would prevent students from beginning to become lazy on assignments. Although it may seem stressful for students at first, since the schedule would prevent students from being lazy, they would not stress about having to make up old work that they were not able to focus on and didn’t finish.

We need this first proposed schedule that breaks everything into more manageable chunks. When assigning major assignments such as research papers, teachers tend to break down the assessment into separate tasks, such as the bibliography and the thesis. Similarly, we need to break classes into manageable chunks so that students do not feel overwhelmed with the amount of courses they are taking every time they sit down to do homework.

Nov 12, 2015