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We are beginning to hear the first rumblings of a longer school day this year, and with it, the mention of four day work weeks. I think the idea has merit, particularly if the afternoon classes are those in the arts, be they media, fine arts, music, movement, etc. The increasing emphasis on the academic core areas, while necessary, is draining to the students and leaves them with very little creative outlet. Yes, there are ways to integrate the arts, but it is different from an independent pursuit. Time is always an issue, as is nurturing the whole child. A four day work week, if structured properly, has the potential to address these key concerns and help us to shrink our carbon footprint, as well. As a teacher in Hawaii, where gas prices and the cost of living are among the highest in the nation, I can appreciate a solution that benefits first and foremost the students and their learning, but whose rewards extend beyond that.
A few thoughts . . .
1)With a four-day school week, students stay approximately one hour longer each day and will make up for that with time off for rest on longer weekends. They could actually come to school MORE rested, depending on family values.
2)Older students can earn extra money babysitting on that fifth week day.
3)It's not just about saving money. We'll leave a smaller carbon footprint for future generations by consuming less energy.
4)Students will do just fine adapting. And teachers will, as well.
5)I don't think teachers will be working that fifth day without pay, and if money is the impetus to moving to a 4-day school week, districts won't have money to pay additional wages for more time worked. Perhaps one day, we will move past the energy crisis and teachers will be paid to attend the fifth day for all kinds of wonderful, school preparation-related activities.
To the topic of whether it's better for the children (because I think nothing else matters)
My son attended a private school which was on a four day week. It did not work well for him at all.
We all know that transitions are hard on children - especially younger children. So to come from three days of unstructured play then try to adjust to the structure of school was very difficult for both the teachers and my son. Usually he was 'with the program' by about Wednesday afternoon just in time to have one solid good day.
Either Way is good really. I just moved to a new school and new lower grade level. I find the biggest thing is if students are in school too many hours they get burnt out! They just can not hold it together any longer. Also as a teacher you have to really plan and keep the day busy. Time on task is so important. If find that sometimes less time, but spent more useful is better. I think that an extra day is really not better. They way to do it better is to have staff development, collaboration, and prep time. I really think I could design, implement, assess, and work with other teachers on carry out lessons with I had a day set aside to get ready for it. Most teachers do not have enough time to prep lessons or look at what students are doing. Hey what we are doing is not working, time to try something new!
I agree with your comments about students and teachers becoming too tired to focus after a certain number of hours. I also agree that children being out of school on Fridays places a burdenon parents who mould be forced to find child care on Fridays.
However, I think there might be some merit to the four-day academic week if teachers were scheduled to work three or three and 1/2 of those days and have Fridays available for meetings, paperwork and staff development.
As a special educator, I never have enough time for these functions, and I would love to have a half- or full-day to devote to the mountain of paperwork, IEP meetings, and to perhaps squeeze in some much-needed team collaboration with my colleagues.
I would be willing to teach extended hours if I knew that I had guaranteed time to devote to the many other things I do. Perhaps then I could enjoy my time at home and work less in my office there!
Can kids really absorb that much more learning in an extended school day? Exhaustion sets in at some point rendering teachers less focused.
How will this impact the ability of high school students to work jobs to earn money for college and other expenses?
Just because it serves a school district well financially does not make the shortened school week good for students or the community.
This might be a good option, but more data is needed before it seems practical to move to this model.
I have been the school board president of a small charter school district that uses the 4 day school week. The students attend school Tuesday through Friday with Mondays being teacher prep time. Yes, the teachers still come in on Monday, but only for 4-5 hours for their prep, faculty meetings, etc. The school day is just over 1 hour longer and each period is also about 10-15 minutes longer. The overall success of the program is encouraging.
If teaching to the test and gas prices already weren't killing field trips, how are teachers going to justify a day trip when there are only three other days in the week? The same can be said for holidays that might take out one of the four days in a week (think of the traditional Monday holidays, such as MLK day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, and Veterans Day). When one day in five is taken out, for a field trip, holiday, sick day, etc., it doesn't have as much of an impact as if you miss one in four.
I love the idea of a four day week. It would save a lot in fuel costs over the course of a school year, not only for the districts, but for teachers who must commute and it would lessen traffic congestion. Students would be "fresher" knowing they only have to be in school for 4 days. It would promote family fun without raising absenteeism by allowing parents to take a 3 day vacation that doesn't mean their student misses class. It means less days out for students who are sick also. Knowing they have 3 days to rest up might encourage parents to send their complaining student to school. I know that we don't want students here who really need to be home resting when ill, but honestly, we all know that many students stay home sick when they could have gone to school. Then the teacher has the extra work of getting their homework and missed classwork together (at least, we elementary school teachers do), and trying to "catch them up" on what-ever was taught when they were out. Considering how much homework highschool AP students have to do, it would provide them more time to finish and still allow for family time. My family has had many a Sunday when we could not have some "family time" due to the mountain of homework that had to be finished (often assigned on Friday, not a lot of lead time). The criticism that it makes life more difficult for working parents is invalid. The purpose of public education is not to provide free babysitting for working parents, however convenient it is. It is to provide students a quality education, which unfortunately in these current times, is affected by hard economic times. Districts have to look at all options of how to make their best of their budgets.
It is imperative that we as a Nation do not lose the acquired knowledge of common sence and do every thing in our power to pass it on to our youth at least 5 days a week.