Have you ever just sat in class annoyed with the new 2.5 hour-long classes? Well, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Hundreds of students from the TDSB feel the same way as they have expressed throughout social media. It all comes down to basic science. Both mentally and physically, our teenage minds and bodies aren’t designed to adapt to this schedule.
Our mental health is only deteriorating progressively with each passing period. Even the Grade 9 guidance counsellor agrees with this. Halfway through your class of absolute torture, if you look around and observe the students, you’ll see that everyone looks dead (inside and out). Half of the class will have their heads down trying to get just a second of rest, while the other half will be leaning on their elbows forcing their eyes to stay open. It is irrational to expect a bunch of teenagers to sit down and learn for 2.5 hours straight without feeling burnt out. You might say that this could easily be fixed if each class got a break during their class, but not all teachers are willing to do this. I personally only have one class that gives us a break, but even then, it seriously isn’t enough for me to stay motivated. I’d bet the majority of students will agree with me on this. 2.5-hour-long periods are more than three times the usual 45-minute periods. You’ll have all the proof you need for that statement because by the time class ends, everyone is brain-dead. That is because students grind through thick stacks of worksheets, only for the teacher to add more when it’s done. Honestly, the amount of work you’re given during these periods is utterly unreasonable. All this work is just so mentally draining for all the students. If all we want is to go home, how will we learn properly if all we think about in class is how long we have until the period ends? I check my phone more than 20 times each class, hoping that the time will start going by faster. It would be so much more manageable if we could have our regular 45 minute periods back. Everyone will be awake and will be able to learn with tons of energy and enthusiasm. The work will be done faster and we’ll be able to comprehend everything infinitely easier. It is an undeniable fact that the students will be able to focus so much better in 45 minute periods.
Along with our deteriorating mental health, the abrupt shift to this learning style has a significant influence on our grades and attention span. Because of the “Week 1 and Week 2” pattern, inaction in a particular subject can cause students to forget the material. The 45-minute periods helped us to freshen our minds as we studied for a respectable amount of time every day. Having 45-minute periods was also beneficial because we could ask questions instead of waiting a whole week! The solution of sending emails isn’t as effective or efficient to clear misconceptions. New study methods, such as the Pomodoro Technique, advocate for short rests in between activities. When we switched courses in the 45-minute period model, we had at least 5 minutes to clear our heads and relax, but 2.5 hours of intensive concentration as a teenager isn’t the ideal way to learn. Children’s minds are more active from a neurological standpoint; moving between sessions and having shorter intervals of active learning help us effectively absorb what is provided while still having fun! Multiple lessons of the same subject are taught on the same day due to the lengthened periods, and because we won’t be studying the information the following week due to the Week 1 and Week 2 schedules, we have less time to actually take in what was provided. It’s quite clear that this huge change in learning style can be overwhelming and damaging to students and their grades.
Anyways, I hope now you’re convinced that 2.5-hour periods are just not it, and that we should go back to having 45 minute periods. All we need right now is to go back to being happy in class. No more checking the clock 20 times during class—please and thank you!