Changing Mondays to advisory days would improve students’ schoolwork and mental health

Struggles+on+students+mental+health

Jacob Weller and Fiona Swan

Struggles on students mental health

A common question asked by the Tam District community is, “Are Monday classes beneficial, and is 30 minutes really enough time for students to learn new material?” The simple answer is no, it’s not.

It’s obvious that distance learning is an ongoing struggle for students. Students wake up at 8:30 each morning just to sit in bed in Zoom class and try to understand the material through a laggy screen. 

There is a lack of engagement through distance learning as very few students have the motivation to turn on their Zoom cameras and participate in class. Zoom class can feel tiresome and boring for students when they sit through long and difficult lectures while there are more interesting distractions around them. Digital learning is a pain for everyone involved including students, parents, and teachers. Students continue to struggle to find a balance between online school and home life. Consequently, there have been frequent complaints from students and parents in the community regarding the Monday schedule. 

At High School 1327 (HS 1327), the daily schedule has drastically changed since in-person school became distance learning. Classes are in session Monday through Friday with only 30 minutes for all seven periods on Mondays. 

Monday classes include weekly plans and outlines for each course. There is hardly enough time for real work to be done when five to ten minutes is taken to let everyone in the Zoom, ten minutes taken for attendance, and ten minutes to wrap up class. Due to a limited amount of work time, teachers seem to be checking the clock every three minutes to see if the class is over. 

Many students and teachers have proposed to cut Monday class and turn it into either advisory, office hours for teachers, or time for asynchronous work. These options would relieve the stress of unnecessary class time. 

While several community members feel getting rid of Monday classes would be beneficial, there are teachers and staff members who support the distance learning Monday schedule. Many feel like it is useful for students to understand how the upcoming week will look. Some also argue that the Monday schedule is very similar to how Monday class was before distance learning. Prior to distance learning, the Monday schedule also consisted of all seven periods but the periods were 55 minutes rather than 30 minutes. 

Balancing a global pandemic and academics can be challenging, and has been demanding for students at HS 1327. Six hour Zoom meetings and three or more hours of homework five days a week is not easy. Issues like the Black Lives Matter movement, the upcoming presidential election, California wildfires, and COVID-19 have all impacted students’ lives immensely. Students should have time and energy to have a life outside of school, instead of spending their entire day on Zoom.

 

Ava Stephens, a junior at HS 1327 has found it difficult to balance hours on Zoom, her homelife, and her mental health. “Monday classes have caused me stress and I feel like they would be better used as a work day. I don’t feel like we get anything done in my classes. It feels like a complete waste of time,” Stephens said.

Junior Naomi Betz is also hoping that Mondays will be turned into a work period and online classes will be from Tuesday through Friday. “I feel like class hours on Mondays could be directed to more useful time, such as office hours or some tutorial-like system so we can visit classes that we need more help and time in rather than having barely enough time to get anything done in classes,” Betz said.

If the Tamalpais Union High School District decided to cut Monday classes, students would have the ability to work on homework and their studies as well as spend more time with their loved ones and find a sense of relief in today’s tense political, economic, and social climate.

 

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