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Block scheduling deserves more credit
November 10, 2022
For the first few weeks of school, my classmates and I were constantly complaining about the newly implemented block schedule. Adjusting was difficult for students who were accustomed to Central’s nine-period schedule, so naturally, it became the topic of all our conversations.
However, slowly the complaining has trickled away into nothingness. I now find myself much more comfortable with 90-minute class periods, and while block scheduling has given us all challenges to adjust to, the switch has proved to be rewarding.
The most obvious con to block scheduling is that classes feel much too long. Last year, class periods were the perfect length—short enough that sitting at a desk for 45 minutes was not grueling, but long enough that a decent amount of content could be covered. Now, students get restless because classes seem never-ending. Sometimes I think that the period is almost over, and then I realize we are only halfway through. A longer period leads to intense boredom and time passing painfully slow.
Having classes every-other day is another inconvenience. Students are bound to forget the content they learned in each subject by the time they show up to the same class 48 hours later, and the only way to avoid this is to study for each class every night, which I know my classmates and I are not going to do. The new schedule also means that I only see some of my classmates every other day, when last year I would have seen them every day. This situation is not ideal for fostering friendships.
Being in the International Baccalaureate (IB) program in conjunction with block scheduling has presented its own set of challenges. Because of the hour requirements of IB science courses
and because all IB junior’s science classes fall in the third period of the day, every IB junior has a working lunch at least every other day. Since I have both Chemistry and Computer Science during third period, I have sacrificed my 30-minute lunch for all five days of the school week.
We are still allotted time to eat, but usually it is short, and occasionally we must multitask by eating while listening to a lecture. Block has also unevenly split our IB classes; there are two junior Theory of Knowledge periods, and while the one I am in has 16 students, the other one has only five. Such a small class size limits discussions and activities, and this would not be an issue
if it were not for block scheduling.
However, twice the time in each class has its benefits. This school year, homework is typically due two days after it is assigned, so students get significantly more time to finish it than they would in a nine-period-a-day schedule. It is a huge weight off my shoulders not to have to complete homework for eight classes every single night, and I am sure that my peers can say the same. Longer classes also bring with them more time for in-class discussions, which means that conversations are not getting cut short and students can develop a better understanding of the content they are learning. More time is especially beneficial in my Chemistry class because it is
much easier to do labs without a strict time restraint. There is less running around throughout the school day, too, so students do not have to constantly pick up their belongings and change locations. Block scheduling feels much more relaxed than last year’s schedule for those reasons.
Another convenient aspect of the new schedule is that all our class period start and end times end in fives and zeros. Last year it was difficult to remember my class times because they ended in every number imaginable, so this new fives and zeros system has allowed me to flawlessly
memorize my junior year schedule. Not to mention the fact that we only have to remember half the number of times we did during the 21-22 school year. I feel euphoric when someone asks me what time class ends and I can immediately spit out an answer.
The best part about block scheduling is the fact that there is always a day to look forward to. Everyone has a day they prefer over the other—mine is my B day—and this provides students with a glimmer of hope that no matter how stressful or difficult or boring one day is, the next day will be better. Despite its many drawbacks, the block schedule might be something that Eagles will learn to love and appreciate.