We all know the block day struggle: fighting sleep and boredom as your teacher drones on for an hour and a half. Blake High School’s infamous block schedule was created to “provide opportunities for students to engage with content for a longer period of time and for teachers to schedule those activities like labs, tests, extended practice, simulations, etc.,” says Assistant Principal Anita O’Neill. However, a recent Instagram story poll on the Blake Beat Instagram showed that 86% of Blake students believe block days should not exist. A common consensus of the student body is that block days are boring, mentally exhausting, and overall do more harm than good for student’s learning.
Research seems to support this idea. The average attention span of humans has dropped from 12 to 8 seconds from 2000 to 2013, when smartphones and the internet first became widely popular, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information. The reality is that this generation grew up in the Technology Age, resulting in much shorter attention spans than previous generations. These long 90 minute class periods make it difficult for students to stay attentive and digest information.
Blake senior Deena Habash agrees that high schooler’s minds are too immature to sit still and pay attention for long periods of time. “I think that these [block] class periods would be more useful just split up into two separate classes,” Deena said in an interview. She explained that she thinks block periods would not be an issue in a college setting, but high schoolers simply cannot handle it.
Personally, I can’t help but tune out once I’ve been sitting in the same class learning the same content for over an hour. Some teachers will try to mix in different assignments and projects within the eternally long block period, but it doesn’t do much to help pass the time. My experiences after three years of block schedules have shown me that I simply cannot force myself to stay engaged in an extended class period. I know that I’m not alone when I say that I simply dislike block days. As someone who typically enjoys learning, block periods just make class boring and painful.
Additionally, block days are extremely unpopular amongst Blake teachers. During block week, you can go into any class in the building and hear teachers grumbling and complaining about the 90 minute period almost as much as their students. Ms. Gaffney, a BHS math teacher, has been a vocal critic of the block day schedule. “[Block days] make it very hard to teach multiple sections in one class to keep [the students] on pace,” Gaffney said in an interview. She explained that it is a struggle to keep her students entertained and on pace with the block schedule. Teachers find it difficult to plan a 90 minute lesson that will keep students engaged and learning, and the altered schedule interferes with their planning periods as well.
Though the block schedule was created to help students and teachers, it is clear that both groups find block days a nuisance. Block days are unnecessary and harm student’s learning. Let’s finally end the agonizing inconvenience of block days at Blake.