When the Schedule’s Block, Faster Goes the Clock
The 5:00 AM alarm blares underneath your pillow, warning you of what’s to come. But today isn’t as bad as the rest. The straps on your backpack aren’t weighing your shoulders down, and the extended time allows for you and your classmates to grasp the more challenging concepts in class. As time passes, you find yourself not staring at the clock as much, instead growing familiar with those who sit beside you. Before you know it, you’re back home, lounging in bed, awaiting the arrival of the next school day.
At some point, we’ve all wished we had lockers. After all, carrying 6 classes worth of books, pencils, folders, binders and more is not for the weak. But when that number’s cut in half, it’s not anywhere near as bad. And from the freshman perspective, it makes the transition from middle school to high school a whole lot easier. Juliette Othon, a freshman eager for the block schedule, claims it makes navigating her way around the school easier too. “Middle school always had block schedule, regardless of the day. So coming into a whole new high school, with hundreds of unknown faces, and six completely different classes to work around, was pretty difficult for me. But I have to say, even though the hybrid schedule can become overwhelming at times, I’m glad we still have a couple block days each week!”
While we’re on the topic of transitions, block scheduling indirectly guarantees that we all get a little more sleep (which we all know everyone needs)! By only having a few classes to prepare for each day, also comes the benefit of having limited work to come home to–and we all know it’s so much easier to focus on 3 subjects than all 6 at the same time. Trisha Villanueva, one of the seniors who’s been able to experience both sides of the argument, agrees that block scheduling has always been easier to manage, both at school and at home. “I found that I can focus better with only worrying about 3 classes, rather than trying to juggle all the information from all of my 6 classes combined.” It’s everyone’s main goal to prevent academic burnout at all costs, and it’s easy to fall into it during hybrid scheduling.
That sinking feeling you get when teachers can’t even remember your name is the worst. And we’ve all experienced it at one time or another. But 2-hour long classes are the perfect guarantee to receive the intimate learning experience that you want and need. When junior Mia Olmedo compared her classes from last year to this year’s, she felt like her classrooms’ environments were more personal than they are now. Though she’s only just started her junior year, she admits to missing how personalized her classes felt. “Since periods go by faster this year, many of my teacher[s] try to force their students to retain as much information as possible in short periods of time. It can be stressful. With block scheduling, teachers wouldn’t rush their instruction, and the entire class would’ve had more opportunities to ask questions when it was needed.”
At the end of the day, it’s clear that block scheduling makes our 8-hour days feel like just a few minutes. Without having to constantly be on your feet, or worry about which projects are due in the next hour, you can sit back, relax, and truly enjoy the true beauty of our school!
Block and 1-6: The Best New Mix
You look at the clock and it reads 1:00 PM. An hour later, 1:01 PM—at least this is what it felt like when running on last year’s block schedule. Now, “every time I check the clock in one of my classes, there’s almost always less than 15 minutes left,” junior Milagros Ortega raises a great point: by the time we check those bright white numbers, a student to your right is putting the last pen into her pouch, and another to your left is jamming his AirPods into his ears. In seemingly no time, class is over.
That’s the beauty of the hybrid schedule—it seems quicker, so you’re almost always moving. Hybrid scheduling has you up on your feet nearly three times as much as full-block scheduling, something Lucas Ortega takes advantage of. “I enjoy being able to see my friends in between each period, and since there’s more class periods, there’s more chances for me to see them,” the sophomore explains. Whether you use that time to dart out of U-building’s jam-packed hallways or, like Lucas, take the more scenic route of handshakes, fist-bumps, and “what’s ups,” you’re not glued to your seat for nearly two hours at a time. “It’s worth carrying six subjects in my bag.”
On the subject of subjects, we can’t all say we are fond of every class. You might find your second period exhausting or your sixth tedious and monotonous, or you might not have many friends in third period—I get it; staying in these types of classes for 105 minutes sounds like punishment. To junior Bryan Kandic, it’s torture. “Being in a class for that long makes me really tired, especially in the morning,” he says. “Last year, every class was 105 minutes and it made the day feel so slow. I would lose focus a lot.” Brianna Correa, senior and charter veteran, has had the chance to experience both sides of the block, new and old.“I can lose focus being in a class for so long,” she expresses. “So, personally, I love the new schedule. We get to move around more, the days go by much faster, and I see my friends on a daily basis. The only downside is getting more homework, but there’s definitely more pros than cons. As a senior now, and seeing how much the schedule changes over time, I will always favor 1-6 days!” she says.
I admit getting more homework is a drawback of hybrid scheduling, but teachers can only assign as much as you can learn. And in 50 minutes, the time to teach is limited. Therefore, lessons are kept to one or two a day, compared to last year’s three, four, or even more. By having 55 fewer minutes per class this year, you’ll be entering the next period lively and animated, not mentally drained and exhausted–and I’m sure teachers do not want to deal with that mini epidemic for another year.
By far, however, the best attribute of hybrid scheduling is in its name: hybrid. Even if you prefer 1-6 with two block days, or purely block, you have both in the same week. “I actually feel that the [current schedule] is better,” sophomore Milanna Correa says. “It offers different days, some that are quicker and some [during which] you have more time to do your work in class.” And we all like options. Sure, your bag might be heavier for one or two days and you might receive a tad more homework than you desire, but at least you can say you have the best of both worlds.