As part of distance learning, the school has a scheduled period of homeroom on Wednesdays. This time is used to inform students about school updates and general announcements through videos. Because of the limited instructional time, dedicating an entire day for relatively short updates is an inefficient use of time.
As a consequence of block scheduling, teachers typically only have two days’ worth of instructional time each week. Compared to a regular day for in-person schooling, classes are now about three and a half hours shorter because of block scheduling. If the year continues at this pace, students will not be able to complete the desired curriculum. In addition, there are ongoing technical issues affecting teachers, students, and platforms. As a result, those technical difficulties would disrupt classes and ultimately lessen instructional time even more. Due to these factors, the administration must optimize time usage.
The administration implemented “independent extended home learning” before and after homeroom as a substitute for the missing instructional time. That concept is a futile attempt of having students work during the missing instructional time because most students view it as recreational time since there is no one enforcing it.
It is often believed that Wednesday homerooms are essential for allowing both teachers and students to catch up on their work. Admittedly, it does aid teachers in refining their lesson plans and grading, but most teachers have familiarized themselves, or at the very least, have a vague understanding of platforms and lesson planning because of last year’s distance learning period. Regarding workload, students have plenty of time since classes end at 12:25 p.m., and they no longer have to commute back home or participate in extracurriculars such as sports.
Although Wednesday homerooms aim to ensure students stay informed, students can easily opt-out because their cameras are not required to be on. However, even if the cameras were on, it does not provide a clear view of what the student is doing. Homeroom teachers are also not authorized to issue out forms for students to fill out to prove whether the student was paying attention or not. It is more sensible to post the information in an easily accessible area such as the school’s website. As another alternative, the administration can either continue daily bulletins on the school’s website or as email blasts. This would allow students to get informed on their own time and not at the suspense of their instructional time. While it may be true that some students would not bother checking the announcements, it is highly unlikely that they would pay attention during homeroom either.
Rather than using Wednesdays as homerooms, a feasible option is to have Wednesdays operating on Schedule D: Minimum Day. This will give each teacher an extra day of instructional time and leave enough time for them to attend their meetings. Furthermore, this will benefit students by getting them closer to achieving the desired curriculum. Although extended home learning will not be available, students can email their teachers for any assistance they need.