By Ryon Riddle
MSA students are asked to do a lot of work, without many breaks. At times the workload can be almost unbearable--with double periods of math and science every day, no gym class, and homework in every class almost every day. And that’s before I even mention the quizzes, the papers due every week, and the back-to-back tests.
What we need is a break. We need a free period.
Not a study hall, but a free period.
The difference between the two is important. In a study hall, students must work quietly and individually and try gain their own understanding of the work that they might be struggling with. A free period would allow students to interact with their peers--to talk to each other--and these conversations can help students better understand their assignments, including the assignments they are struggling with.
A free period is better than a study hall because, in my experience, students can often explain ideas and concepts better than teachers. A free period, where students are allowed to share ideas and explanations, would improve the learning environment at MSA: Students would become tutors, and teachers.
In my opinion, though, I think the school’s administrators won’t allow a free period. They might feel as if it’s a bad thing because a free period might take away from student instruction time, and that students could lose their focus on homework or classroom assignments in a free period.
But I think a free period would improve instructional time, and it would force students to take responsibility for their actions and to use their time wisely during the free period. Whatever gets done--or doesn’t get done--during the free period would be the student’s responsibility. MSA scholars who take responsibility during the free period would have time to prepare for upcoming classes, reflect on previous classes, and also allow for feedback to be given to students of previous projects and assignments.
Junior Andre Veasley said he supports the idea of a free period.
“I feel as if advisory is pointless, only because it is not used as advisory,” Andre said. “My teacher uses advisory as extra classroom time. So I have a 105-minute class instead of a regular 90-minute class.”
“I feel that a free period is needed in order to prepare our minds for the rest of the school day that is ahead of us, and to do homework,” Andre said.
Junior Dymond Taylor suggested making advisory into a 45-minute free period.
“I think advisory should be used as a free period instead of eating breakfast, so it should be longer,” she said.
Ninth grader Kamaria Rasul said a free period during the school day would help her stay on top of her school work.
“I think that a free period is a very much needed thing within the Perspectives IIT Math & Science campus. I know I need it because I am behind on my work, so with this free period I can use this time to catch a lot of grounds on my studies,” Kamaria said. “It will also give me a chance to properly gather my thoughts on how I am going to prepare myself for my next period class.”
Offering a free period would provide more study time, it would help students prepare for their classes, and it could help place the school’s top students as tutors to those students who need help the most.
A free period would also require more student responsibility, which will help us build the kind of skills we’ll need at college.
And aren’t we all here to go to college?