An independent day would help keep stress away


Art by Sathvik Manam

Without an independent day each week, students and teachers are feeling buried under the weight of all the work they need to do.

Our current schedule has teachers overworked and students second-guessing whether or not they’ll make it through the year. It has us stressing every day of the week over the mounds of school work that pile up. With the mountain of work that this type of scheduling demands, we need a way to have time to finish the assignments and take a breath.

The solution? Follow the advice given to schools by Education Week and turn one of the five school days into an “independent day.”

An independent day allows students and teachers to catch up or finish work without more being added to the pile. For instance, teachers can finish grading, help students and plan ahead, while seniors can work on college applications or career paths, and underclassmen can finish work up.

This would be an immense relief to students while on their remote days. There’s been a clear communication gap between students and teachers, as teachers are in school five days a week so they are only fully available after school to answer questions from remote students. And even then they have other class prep and grading to complete during their free periods and may not have the time to answer student emails. 

 It would also remove the stress of knowing which days we need to be at school, as the schedule can be set to specific cohorts on predetermined days versus the current system of alternating the cohort days each week. Having a set schedule each week would be immensely helpful for all faculty, including bus drivers and substitutes, as well as students, because right now the constant change of schedules is overwhelming and confusing for everyone.

Then add the PSAT or a  holiday, and students are questioning themselves on which day they need to come in next and what they need to bring in. Teachers are wondering who they are seeing today and what they already taught and what they still need to teach that particular group. Sticking to a set schedule will allow students to simply know when to come in or when to complete assignments, and then teachers will be able to organize their weekly schedules more consistently.

Yes, students and teachers need to be able to organize their time efficiently, but this schedule makes it difficult to do that because there is one integral factor missing: consistency. This independent day could improve the mental load on both teachers and students, who are equally stressed. It will give them the most scarce resource of all, which is time.

I think it is time for the school board and district to acknowledge that we cannot continue with this schedule that constantly alters when students actually go to school. It’s just not sustainable.