A new year has begun, and school is back in session. 2020 being the start of a new decade makes it feel as though there is an unlimited number of new opportunities and experiences just waiting for us to seize them. Despite those feelings, heading back into the classroom can leave students feeling sluggish while providing new opportunities for growth moving forward into the second half of the school year.
The first day back after a long break is always an awful experience for both students and staff alike. Odd sleep schedules have to be corrected as students try to get used to both going to bed and waking up earlier. This can lead to a domino effect with oversleeping and rushed mornings, never a good start to the day. While students are trying their best to wake up and remember whatever it was that they had previously been working on, students are also stressing over homework that they may or may not have completed over break. Due to the general insanity of the first couple days back, a serious question comes to mind: should we keep our current system of long breaks, or should we have more frequent shorter breaks?
Personally, I see more value in having shorter breaks compared to having longer breaks throughout the school year. Having a long weekend compared to a week off of school appears to have a more beneficial effect on for students and staff alike. The whole purpose behind a break is to be exactly that, a break. Time away from school gives students an opportunity to relax and get away from all of the pressures and stress that bring students down.
In the moment, a long break is amazing. Being away from school for an extended period of time, and getting to put school on the backburner for a bit is always rejuvenating. vacations are always easier to plan with extended amounts of time off. After that break is over though, that is where the trouble begins. One main problem is that students are away from school for such long amounts of time. A students’ ability to remember and perform skills that they’re practicing on a daily basis decreases when they’re not performing these skills over the long break. With a two week break, most students can hardly remember what they were doing before break and this forces teachers to waste time on the first day back on review to remind students of what they were working on beforehand.
Implementing shorter breaks, would be more helpful to students than having longer breaks throughout the year. A long weekend can be just as relaxing as a longer break. The key to a relaxing break is to stay from any academics. If there’s a mixture of smaller breaks to look forward to throughout the year that will encourage students to stay productive; as well as remove all of the filler activities on the days before and after the break.
Breaks are very important to students, and a vast majority really look forward to them after long periods of time in the classroom. Taking your mind off of major stresses that school provides is why breaks are so beneficial to student growth. Additionally, having a goal always helps to keep students on track and puts meaning into the work they accomplish on a daily basis. The benefits of breaking up long periods of time inside classrooms have much more of a lasting impact on students’ health in the long run.