Many of my readers are teachers and so may understand this issue more than others who have not experienced the modern school system. Let me explain the latest insanity that is occurring at our local high school, and I am sure is happening in schools all across the United States. It used to be that schools provided education and students brought their lunches from home. As society began its long, slow decline and the family unit became more stressed, the school picked up the job of making lunch for the children. Over time this evolved into serving breakfast.
The current classroom has about 45 minutes of total class time for teacher instruction. Subtract from this the five minutes at the beginning of class to take role and perform various useless activities to keep the state and county administrators happy. Most students think class is over at least five minutes before the bell rings despite what the teacher says or does. This leaves us with 35 minutes of actual of class time. Recently, it came to my attention that we now allow students to take valuable time from their second period class to leave the room to get breakfast if they missed it or did not feel like eating breakfast with the rest of the student population when they arrived at school. It is hard to imagine that a student on the Hampshire campus, (which is rather spread out) can complete this task in fewer than 10 minutes. So now we are down to 25 minutes! Couple this with this with the fact that the students will be eating their breakfast during class, which involves opening containers, rustling bags and throwing things away and generally not concentrating on learning and we have a hyper-dysfunctional class. If you read my recent blog about our low position in the world with respect to education, one has to wonder what is going on!
Class time is sacred! How in the world will we ever improve on the use of our instructional time if we allow this kind of intrusion into the instructional day! When will the parents and teachers stand up and loudly voice their concern over the misuse of instructional time? It is impossible for me to understand the point of view that continues to be indifferent to the erosion of this special time. My hope is that sometime in the near future, teachers will insist that their class time is their time and so no one has the right to take it from them! After all, they are judged by their student’s scores, and yet everybody under the sun has the right to remove children Willi-nillie from a teacher’s classroom. How can teachers be expected to teach the full curriculum unless they are given their fully allotted time?
If people became half as excited about our education system as they do about sports, we would have the best schools in the world. I have always said this: If parents and teachers were half as enthusiastic about our education system as they are about sports, we would have the best schools in the world! Parents, teachers, it is time to stand up and be counted. It must be stated to the folks with the power that all instructional time belongs to the teacher and no one else! This system will get better only when teachers fight to make it better. If you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem!