One period at Marc Garneau is exactly 71 minutes long. No more, and no less. This is why it’s so important that students get to classes on time, and also why it’s so important that teachers end their classes on time.

Most students will tell you that at one point or another they have stayed after class to complete some assignment or test. Many more will tell you that they’ve even gone to class early to get a head start. Now this has a few immediate implications. One, the time of another class and teacher may be sacrificed. And two, this creates the opportunity for some students to receive advantage over others in the form of extra time.

Teachers often design tests to be too lengthy or difficult to complete within a period. This is a viable way to gauge how comfortable students really are with the material at hand. Students that have sufficiently prepared for an evaluation are apt to work faster and more efficiently than those who haven’t. However, this all becomes moot if students are allowed to continue writing after the bell has rung. Then the test becomes not only an assessment of the students competency, but also whether they have a spare in the following period or are willing to stay late and risk the frustration of their next teacher. If a test is expected to last longer than the allotted 71 minutes, students should be informed in advance so that they can make arrangements to have as fair a chance at doing well as their peers.

This is not only applicable to tests, which occur relatively infrequently, but everyday teaching as well. If a lesson cannot be fit into 71 minutes, it can be continued the next day rather than the next period. A student arriving late to class with the excuse that their previous teacher held them back does not mitigate the disruption or disrespect caused by their delayed arrival.

Students should not be presented with the choice between keeping their commitment to a club and receiving bonus time on a test, or incurring a late in their next class and completing an assignment. Making the most of class time is a cooperative effort. Students must respect the effort their teachers have put into their lessons. And teachers must do the same for their colleagues.