Making the school day longer does not mean we learn more...
We are not Robots
By Sheila E., Grade 12, Fredericton High, Fredericton, NB
The school board must not be human. They must not have had a childhood or experienced the unjust life of a high school student. I have come to this conclusion through much experiencing and researching such topics as extended school days, 10% increase in pass mark, an overly amplified curriculum, and a handful of homework.
With increasing pressure to get a job during high school for experience and to start saving for secondary education which is highly recommended and almost preached there is much stress on students to basically choose between schoolwork some nights and work some nights. Getting off school at 3:30 then rushing to get to work and working until any hour leaves no time for homework or studying. If a student does attempt to get homework done, he/she is up all hours of the night; consequently, they end up tired the next morning and do not perform well in class, especially since they have to be in class earlier. This of course is only the beginning.
High school students are young, inexperienced human beings who eventually bombard into an unproductive frustration level. According to many Fredericton High's faculty members, whom I have discussed the issue of extended class with, they have noticed that the last five to ten minutes of classes are being wasted because student attention span is only that of about 45 minutes. Students and teachers alike become restless of sitting in class and working or discussing and the class ends up either having one large group discussion about last weekend or friends get together and discuss next week end. Teachers have suggested that the extra time be used as break periods for students to rejuvenate after each class or go to their lockers so as not to worry about carrying all of those heavy text books in their book bags until lunchtime. This may be an alternative that many students could tolerate because at least they would have a little bit of time to finish homework, or just have a break.
It is little wonder that New Brunswick students have such low grades, of course taken into consideration that the pass mark is now 10% higher than it was and students are forced to repeat grades and go to summer school in mandatory courses that they may never be good at or pass. I have failed to mention that many of the curriculums such as math are too difficult for many students because teachers are given strict timelines of what they have to have taught the students by a certain time. This means that students are not absorbing the information they need to know quick enough and be able to understand what is being taught.
Therefore, the extra class time is irrelevant to improving student work habits because they cannot absorb any more information after about 45 minutes. Students have to pass their fast paced course with a sixty percent, they have to work to save for the secondary education that is preached to them, and there is the at least an hours worth of homework every night. Joy. Now, there is the problem with full of potential teens who are being overworked to the point where they become less full of potential due to stress and impossible timetables.
Sure, I can state the problem, but what you want to know is the possible solution. Well, as stated before the extra thirty-five minutes of school could be divided into breaks to allow students to relax or do what they have to. Alternatively, which I strongly believe should be done is end school at the nice even and fair number 3. This is how I believe the day should go: 8:35-8:45 home room (attendance, announcements, etc), 8:50 -9:45 period one, 9:45-9:55 break (go to lockers, eat, etc), 10:00-10:55 period two, 11:00-11:55 period three, 12:00-1:00 lunch, 1:05-2:00 period four, and 2:05-3:00 period five. It works perfectly in terms of a student's attention span and then gives students an extra hour to do homework or study before work. With a shortened school day I would not argue so much about an hour or so of homework at nights because it would make sense to make up for the time of 'learning' that the board so obviously thinks students need more of.
I am a grade twelve student at Fredericton High School and I am a firm believer in getting a good education and making good grades, so I want to do what I can to ensure that the future of myself and my peers is guaranteed not to be compromised due to the incompetence of someone else's doing.
I totally believe what you say. Here we have 5 hours of school each day.
Last year they extended the school year until the 27 of June! I think the
teachers are more like jail cell guards, they watch your every move and hardly
let you do any thing. I thought Canada was a free country.
Alisha, Age 17, Ramea, NL
Back to Front Page