Illustration credit: Lucy Li
The new schedule added stress to the beginning of the school year. The rotating block schedule and lack of bells have been difficult to figure out, but beyond the initial confusion, the longer classes and daily tutorial periods have paved the way for less homework and more effective learning.
Having fewer assignments every night makes it easier for students to balance their time between each subject. It also allows more time for in depth thinking about each assignment instead of the frantic rush to finish assignments for nearly every class, every night.
Another clear advantage to the new schedule is the opportunity it presents for down time between classes. Instead of multiple classes back to back, the new schedule’s lunch period, X period, and daily tutorial allow the day to feel more spread out and give students a sufficient amount of time to transition to new subjects. Last year with 45 minute periods, classes felt rushed. Teachers would struggle just to cram in all the material before the bell rang and often students were left in the dust, unable to process the huge wave of information. In science it was difficult to finish labs and often data charts were left uncompleted.
Many student have expressed concern about their ability to focus through the longer periods. It has been hard to jump from 45 minute periods to 75 minute ones, but despite the fact that these longer periods may seem tiring they are certainly less stressful than an eight period day with less than four minutes of passing time between classes. Longer classes allow more time for learning and collaborating with both teachers and peers, a definite benefit to reduce stress and promote healthier learning.
Change can be scary and although there can be some fear that accompanies the drastic changes this schedule entails, it is important not to overlook the positive side of the situation. The reality is that the schedule has done much more good for our community then bad. The SPA community needs to take into account the preparation and research that went into creating this schedule and trust that the administration, consultants and faculty committee knew what they were doing when these changes were put in place. It is essential for students to be able to adapt to these everyday changes in order to maintain an effective learning community.