I don’t know about you, but this is how I feel at the end of each day with my students, (see pic above), and that’s with a group that’s not too difficult!
And now, they’re thinking of extending the school day? Well, I feel two ways about this, it depends on why they want to extend the school day. If they want to extend the day to fit in more test prep for more standardized testing, I shout a resounding “No!”. If they are extending the day to fit in more meaningless, unproductive PD, then my vote is “Nay!”. If the day is longer, so that our students are held captive by another boring lecture, or another series of worksheets, I put my foot down to such a ridiculous notion!
It’s bad enough that we subject our children to this type of classroom in a 6 1/2 hour day, can you imagine extending this torture? We have a difficult time keeping our students from dropping out now. What would an extended day do to those statistics? And the way education is heading now, no recess, elimination of the arts, field trips banned due to budget cuts, and/or standardized testing, and test prep, who wants to spend another minute in a classroom? I am not even going to touch the issues of teachers’ salary, and the fact that they can barely pay to keep the schools open now.
Here’s my idea of an extended school day, as idealistic as it may seem. Within that extra hour (or two), we enrich their lives. We don’t hand out any worksheets filled with mundane problems. We don’t bore them to tears with another passage testing whether or not they can identify the main idea. We don’t give them another 5 paragraph writing prompt about something they either, a. Have no experience with, or b. Could care less about. We should enrich their lives.
Maybe teachers can create groups consisting of students from all grade levels. (Writing, drama, math,business). Maybe we can focus on projects that help others in the community. How about a field trip that we don’t have to rush back from? (Ever try a class trip to the zoo in two hours?) Or Skyping with that class in another time zone? Pulling small groups of struggling students and helping them really comprehend the material? Or eliminating the need for busy work camouflaged as homework? And my personal favorite, book clubs! Reading for the sake of reading! Aaaaah…
Yes, maybe, it’s just a dream, but that’s what I would do with an extra hour, (or two), in the classroom, what would you do with yours?