Business was not the same as usual on Redwood’s campus last week, and this was all due to block schedule. The reason we are having block schedule is because the Junior class is CAASP testing, which is an exam that evaluates English and mathematics in order to bypass placement tests before college. This means that we have 1st, 3rd, and 5th period on Tuesday and Thursday, and 2nd, 4th, and 6th on Wednesday and Friday.
I posted a poll on Twitter titled “Block Schedule at RHS”. Out of 55 votes, 53% of students said they “Hated It” and 47% said they “Loved It”.
Having block schedule last week felt like eternity. Every period seemed to drag on and on. This was not a realistic schedule of course, if we did have block schedule it would be shorter, but students did get a small taste of what it would be like to only have 3 periods a day. Yes, having block schedule might seem like a good idea, but I think there are much more long-term consequences for both teachers and students.
According to Mayo Clinic, the average teen should exercise for at least 30 minutes each day. With a block schedule, students would be exercising 3 times a week for 2 hours at a time. Not only can it be unsafe for students to exercise for long periods of time, having it only 3 times a week doesn’t allow them to pursue the mandatory 30 minutes each day. People may argue that the bridge is more than enough exercise, but I did the math, and it didn’t exactly add up. It takes roughly 1 minute to cross the entire bridge. With three periods a day, those who do cross the bridge will only earn a maximum time of 3 minutes actually doing some sort of exercise. Some students don’t ever cross the bridge and some only cross it once; we need P.E. to be a daily routine to keep our students healthy.
Block schedule keeps students trapped indoors. Some students look forward to the 9 minute breaks we have in between each period to go outside and get some fresh air. Students should be allowed a break in between each period to be able to reboot for the next subject. Block schedule gives students only 15 minutes in between two, two-hour blocks. This is not enough outdoor time for students to switch gears into another, long session of curriculum.
Block schedule also disrupts some electives that require day-to-day activities. For example, our Journalism class would not be able to meet daily and discuss story topics, which can lead to a story not being written about something important. In Yearbook, students would not be able to use class time to work on spreads, they would have to resort to doing it at home, which disrupts homework time. Band or orchestra would not be able to practice every day, which is mandatory for a flowing symphony.
Although some may argue that block schedule allows students to balance their homework load, there are many flaws to this idea. As we all know, students tend to procrastinate. Block schedule gives students the easiest opportunity to wait until the day before a certain class to finish the work. Not only will students have to do homework at home, some also have to keep up with electives that also require at-home duties.
I also can’t learn and remember some things with block schedule. In pre-calculus, doing problems daily helps me learn the material and understand things fast. With block schedule, I notice that I forgot mostly everything that I learned. The problems that I once perfected during the two-hour block were out of my mind.
If you don’t like block schedule, SPEAK UP! This is YOUR school, if you don’t like something, stand for it and advocate for what you want in your future. There has been recent talk about this being our future schedule, so if you don’t like it, speak up!