Thursday, April 10, 2008

Half-days

Once a month, our school has an early release so that teachers can have special correlate meetings. (Originally they were scheduled afterschool, but people didn't come so we decided that they were more important than actual class. I don't know.) The best thing about them is that they make me appreciate full days more.

For the most part, half-days seem to be a weird balance of fulfilling a requirement to be in school and just a waste. I only remember having them the day before holiday breaks. In those cases it's easy to attribute the rambunctiousness to the excitement over the break. But really it's hard to get anything accomplished on days when students are just excited to get out. The question, "how much time is left?" is asked triple the normal frequency. Classes are still long enough that I feel like we should be able to do something, but focus flies away.

I wish I knew what happened yesterday. Because they worked. I left school feeling better than I had on Tuesday. 

Of course, school's been canceled today due to snow.  (Which I prefer to going in and being dismissed at 10. If half-days are usually bad, days when we know we're getting out but don't know when are INSANE.) My frustration with trying to plan lessons in this situation continues.

1 comment:

Rose's Mom said...

I'd like to find or start a national campaign against half days. Does anyone know of an existing campaign?
In my case, my daughter is disabled, and transitions are very difficult for her. EVERY morning is a struggle, especially now that she is in middle school and I have to get her up at 6 AM. To know that she spends almost as much time on the bus as in school on half days is so annoying!
Here are my anti-half day concerns; why I think that instead of two half days, school districts should have one day off and one day on:
School bus gas: Save districts money, reduce CO emissions, reduce dependence on foreign oil (even a little bit helps!), reduce wear and tear on buses.
School bus drivers hate half days; scheduling runs is a nightmare.
Reduce heating, cooling and electric costsfor schools.
Scheduling child care: easier for one full day than two half days?
Special ed kids do not get the physical, occupational and speech therapy to which they're entitled on their IEP's (Individualized Education Plans). Also, their medication schedules are disrupted, possibly leading to missed or duplicate meds. Communication between school and parent is not always as good as it should be.
How much education is actually provided on a half day, when so much of the day is spent with morning routine?
Let me know how you feel about these issues; let's start a grass-roots campaign if there isn't already one!
Thanks for your time!