Time, a Factor to Students Success
By Bee Vang
Tomorrow is always a fresh start of our days, but it won’t be so fresh if the first thing we think about when we wake up is our responsibility as a student. Last night I stayed up late, very late trying to finish this important essay, the highlight of my junior year. I also attempted to do my precalculus homework when I came upon a couple of problems that my math teacher didn’t cover. Knowing that the process can become grueling I gave it a try till an hour later my brain couldn’t deal with it any longer. Then this morning in study hall I had to decide the foremost choice to do, either complete my unfinished Spanish letter, work on my precalculus homework again, or study for my IB Economics test. By the time study hall ends only a small part of me feel relief. If only I were to have enough time in class wouldn’t cause me to stress over schoolwork this much.
The school board has to consider how little time they give us to do our work. Over the past few years the school board had pushed many Saint Paul public schools into either having a block schedule, or a seven period. Central High School was the last one standing between the district’s high schools with a normal six period day up until the academic year of 2014–2015. Before adopting the seven period day, Central’s six period day had time for at least an hour long lesson. Now with the 7 period day, students have only forty-seven minutes per class learning time. We lose 13 minutes in each class, multiple 13 by 183. school days would equal to a loss of 2379 minutes, or about a 40 hours loss of learning time in one school year just for just one class. With the loss of time teachers expect more from students to be more independent. So much materials to be cover in such a little amount of time, students are not robots.
Most students at Central are mentally in desperation need for more time in class. Everyday in math class is a start of a new lesson, homework were supposed to be done by the time the new lesson began. But about half the class have not even completed the homework that was assigned two days ago because they didn’t have time to ask for help. As this cycles continues homework gets pile up really fast and the only two days that can save their lives are the weekends, when they have more time in hand to look for answers.
Furthermore, there is also a group of people who truly need more help but often time they are ignored by the people in the community. They are minorities who speaks broken English which make them known as English Language Learners (ELL) in school. In the article “American Students Who Struggle With English Outnumber Kids Born Abroad” written by Mikhail Zinshteyn, Zinshteyn uses Jeanne Batalova’s Migration Policy, using the 2012 Census data and the 2013 U.S. Department of Education Data to analyzed and proved that the number of ELL students born in the United States has doubled throughout the years. Minnesota is a state that contribute numbers to the ELLs population as I observe the large number of students who have to take the annual ELL test every year not just from Central High School, but also from my past grade schools. The problem for ELLs is that it takes more time for them to grasp onto new concepts and they need more resources from their teacher. It is already hard on average performing students to cope with only a 47 minute long class. How will the ELLs deal with this kind of schedule?
It seems as though the school board is not very attentive for those who do not have the resources at home to help them with their academic work. Jeanne Batalova, referenced in the article mentioned above said, “Coming from families who are limited-English proficient affects the trajectory, both the academic and English language acquisition, of children born into these families.” Coming from first generation family is a reason why students are academically disadvantaged. Students may never get the chance to be active with the second language once they get home because of this reason. What these students really need is a spare of time, but it’s not going to happen under that 47 minutes.
However, the idea of allowing students to have more time in class may still not be in favorable because those extra minutes will not be beneficial for those that are already believed to be strongly competitive in school. Although competent students may be doing better compared to their peers, they too still have a lot of catching up to make to their overseas counterparts. To make a counter argument, according to an article called, “American School vs the World: Expensive, Unequal, Bad at Math” written by Julia Ryan, it stated, “Massachusetts, which is a high-achieving U.S. state and which averaged above the national PISA score, is still two years of formal schooling behind Shanghai.” In this case, Massachusetts represent of all the top performing students, but what if they were to sit in a class in Shanghai? Will they be able to perform their school work with flexibility? They probably cannot. Even top students can’t take time for granted. The lag of our nation explains why every students need more time in school.
Whether the student is an average, struggling or achieving student, the idea of taking class time away or losing that extra time is definitely not going to make them academically better. Schools have the power to help change lives, help students expand their minds, and help students to compete in the most unexpected, challenging and most competitive world out there. Giving more time to students in class to do work and learn, makes use of classes. into a more meaningful way can and will eliminate most of our lacking problems and falling education.
“Photo by Alex Jones | Unsplash.” By Alex Jones. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2015.
Ryan, Julia. “American Schools vs. the World: Expensive, Unequal, Bad. at Math.” The. Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 03 Dec. 2013. Web. 03 Dec. 2015.
Zinshteyn, Mikhail. “American Students Who Struggle With English. Outnumber Kids Born Abroad.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 24 Dec. 2014. Web. 04 Dec. 2015.