Should School Days Be Longer? A 7th Grade Class Weighs In

school clockBack in the early days of Edudemic (November 2010), I wrote a simple post asking if school days should be longer. I think Edudemic had about 3 visitors a month at that point (thanks mom and dad!) so it didn’t get much traction. However, the post just got an interesting comment from Jamie Baird, a middle school teacher in North Carolina. Her students laid a Pros and Cons list on the topic of school days being longer. Here’s her comment. What do you think? Should school days be longer?

The Students Weigh In

Our 7th grade class thinks that this issue has pros and cons.

Pros:
- Students will learn more materials.
- Students can receive more help.
- Students will have more time for hands-on projects.
- If the school year was longer, students wouldn’t forget as much material over a long summer break.

Cons:
- Students will be too tired.
- Students will misbehave because they resent the change.
- Students won’t be able to spend as much time with their family.
- It will cost more money to extend the school year.
- If the day is extended, students will get home too late.
- Students won’t have time to complete homework if the day is extended.
- Students would miss out on extracurricular activities.

Out of 10 students, 4 students would extend the school year or day, 3 students would not extend the school year or day, and 3 students are undecided.

Now It’s Your Turn

Should the school day be longer? Weigh in down in the comments or on the Edudemic Facebook page. Looking forward to seeing your thoughts!

9 Comments

  1. James

    October 20, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    And the 10 student’s country is ranked 25th in math, 17th in science, etc., why? Because lazy teacher union members don’t want to work a full day, and insist on only working 180 days a year.

    • Jeremiah

      October 20, 2012 at 6:02 pm

      Unfortunately James doesn’t see the whole picture here. Clearly sir you have an agenda and your comments are not constructive. If you would like to add to the conversation, please tell us what your thoughts are about a longer school day.

  2. Jack

    October 20, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    It saddens me to think that the public believes that an educator only works during the hours of a school day, or the days in a school year. The media does a good job of showcasing the few poor teachers, and the public uses the stereotype to type cast the rest. However, I am intrigued over this issue of an extended school year. I believe this sample is too low – a class of ten students. So, I will pose this question to my seventh grade classes. This will give a picture from 62 students, and add validity to this list.

    • Jeff Dunn

      October 22, 2012 at 11:24 am

      Would love to hear what the students said Jack, thanks!

  3. Fred

    October 20, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    At our school here in Thailand, our usual teaching hours starts at 7:00am and ends at 2:15pm, compared to other schools that start at 8:00 and end at 3:00. We had floods last year and had to extend each day to 3:00pm even though we started at 7. Students and teachers were extra tired and because of that I don’t think the students gained much more than the usual 7 to 2:15. Sometimes, parents don’t understand and want to get the most out of their money. This I understand because I am a parent as well and my son is already in school. Teachers aren’t lazy. They go high gear starting from 7 and by 2:15 are totally worn out. But a teacher’s day doesn’t end there. They check homework and test papers. They make and continually revise lesson plans, course outlines, maintain teacher websites, attend grade-level meetings, department meetings, school-wide teacher meetings, AND meet with parents after school, attend seminars, continually upgrade themselves with extra readings and research and attend either online or on-campus courses to stay current, help out with the school’s extra-curricular activities on and off campus, AND prepare student progress reports every 1-2 weeks for 120-150 students!

    Then they do what other parents do — pick up their children from school, prepare dinner, help with homework, send them to additional studies (math, science, sports, music, etc), do necessary shopping.

    Not many other professions take their work home with them. They seem to work longer hours but leave their work behind once they leave the door of their workplace. Teachers are teachers 24/7 continually planning about what to teach and how to treat each individual child. YES, you heard it right. Teachers make individual plans for each child since each child learns differently, reacts differently, has different levels of basic knowledge, learning ability, skills, likes, dislikes, mental and emotional preparedness, different family backgrounds, amount of support from family, etc.

    Would anyone really want to work from the moment they wake up at 6 till 9-10pm on normal days and 6 till 2-3am during examination week for $500/month? A 14-15 hour day for teachers cannot be compared to a 14-15 hour day of physical labor. AND we don’t get extra or OT pay.

    I really respect those who get into the teaching profession. The take the long hours for little pay because they really want to and enjoy helping kids learn. They want to impart their knowledge and put in more than 100% effort trying to make sure students succeed. They take the insults and complaints when students don’t do well when in an ideal situation it should be 50/50 teacher/parent shared responsibility. How many parents actually check on their children at home and are able to help them with homework (or send them for tutorials)? Most parents are busy too. Having and supporting children is expensive. Imagine how the situation must be for those with more than 2 children?

    This is not a blaming session. We try to do the best we can — parents and teachers — and hope that our children respond by doing their part (study hard).

    I don’t see children benefitting from a school day extension. Most students who do well in school regularly attend extra classes after school — small classes or one-on-one tutoring. Here in Thailand, parents who give more importance to academic progress sent their children to tutorial classes (2:15 till 7 pm). They see extra-curricular activities as a waste of time or something that when weighed against academic progress, less important.

    My suggestion: Normal hours + tutoring after school (if you’re goal is academic excellence)
    My child: Normal hours + spend time with me for homework + let him join sports after school. (goal=holistic development)

    ***All schools should provide free after-school classes (not more than 6-10 students per class) for those who really need help. No one should be left behind. Everyone must reach the standard. The most effective teachers should be chosen for after school classes. You can even have parent/high-school student/honor-roll student volunteers helping out.

  4. Katie Krepel

    October 22, 2012 at 11:43 am

    I don’t think the school day/year needs to be extended. Kids need their break and a break from being “perfect”. They need to have to just be kids. If the school system is not working the way it is, then it should be revised. However, I don’t think that adding more time is going to improve that. Many times students sit in class doing nothing or simply watching videos. Maybe the school system should start looking into making the quality of school better rather than giving students more time to simply do nothing.

  5. Rod

    October 22, 2012 at 11:58 am

    Katie hit the mark. Quality over quantity anytime. Also, if school is made more engaging and allowed student to take interesting and fun elective/ courses during a more extended year, then I think it would be a benefit.

  6. Mrs. Baird's Great Expectations Class

    October 23, 2012 at 8:29 am

    Thanks, Jeff for the followup.

    Our class had this response:
    After reading the comments, the following vote occurred:
    6 students voted to keep the school year/day as it currently is.
    4 students voted to extend the school year/day.

    Comments on the new votes:

    Student 1,6, & 9: I realized that teachers work longer than the school day and would be exhausted working longer days. Students and teachers wouldn’t get enough rest, so the school year/day shouldn’t be extended.

    Student 2: The day/year should stay the same because the shorter time frame would urge students to improve more.

    Student 3: The day/year should stay the same because students get tired of school 8 hours a day and don’t want to learn after that.

    Student 4: The day/year should be longer so teachers can receive a higher pay; we could also have more after school clubs and activities.

    Student 5 & 7: The day/year should be longer because it is the student’s job to learn and be prepared to find a good job or go to college.

    Student 8 & 10: If the day was longer, students would have little time to spend with their family.

    Teacher note: Perhaps we can extend this question to my 68 other students and post their vote and comments.

  7. jasmine

    December 18, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    i strongly disagree because some schools have a 2 hour elective and if u take away 1 hour then it would be more time to learn