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Are School Hours too Long?

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Over the past few years, there has been a lot of talk about whether the current school hours system works positively or negatively for students. Are current school hours really an effective use of time, or are officials just reluctant to make changes? 

Things may be changing for elementary schools.Things may be changing for elementary schools.Courtesy of Tom W. Sulcer

Setting School Hours

  • Most of us think of school hours as being the traditional 9 am to 3 pm, or some close variation, such a 8:30 am to 2:30 pm. Did you realize, though, that most school districts have the power to change their own hours, though, if there is a demand to do so? 
  • For example, some school districts have decided, often for budgetary reasons, to close school services on a Monday or a Friday, and only operate schools 4 days per week. In these cases, total school hours remain the same, meaning that each of the 4 days is a little bit longer than it would be with a 5 day school week. 
  • If you have done your research and truly feel that a change in the school week could be beneficial for students in your district, think about talking to your parents and/or teachers and sending a letter to the school district. 

A shorter school week could mean a longer school day. A shorter school week could mean a longer school day. Courtesy of activerain.com

Pros of a Shorter Week

  • Some studies suggest that, by allowing students to have 3 days off instead of 2, students have more time to complete homework, explore their own interests, and relax a bit. 
  • We know that school can cause a lot of stress, especially when considering the academic demands of high school. Having an extra day off could make the school week easier for students, and give them time to get much-needed rest. 
  • Students aren't the only ones who may benefit from a shorter school week. Teachers who work a 4 day week often appreciate having an extra day off, because it allows for more time to spend with family, as well as more time to plan outside of school hours. 

Maybe an extra day off will keep you from falling asleep in class!Maybe an extra day off will keep you from falling asleep in class!Courtesy of sheknows.com

Cons of a Shorter Week

  • Critics of a short school week have a lot of valid concerns about whether or not a longer day combined with a shorter week is beneficial to students. 
  • Some have said that 3 days is too long to be away from school; students may lose focus over the longer weekend and not retain information as well. This could mean that teachers would need to spend part of each week doing extra review of last week's learning, which makes it hard to teach effectively. 
  • Critics may also find the longer school days to be problematic. Students, especially in elementary school, often have a hard time staying attentive over a long period of time. Considering this, it may be extremely challenging to experience meaningful learning experiences when the day stretches on extra long. 

Could a longer weekend make it harder to retain previously learned information? Could a longer weekend make it harder to retain previously learned information? Courtesy of sungardk12.com

It's most likely that some students would benefit a lot from a shorter week, whereas some would prefer to stretch their learning over the standard 5 day week. It's really something to think about, though! Give yourself some time to consider what you think might be best for you. 

Have Your Say!

What would you like your school week to look like? Share your opinions in our comments section!