Imagine you are rushing into class with just seconds to spare before the bell signaling the start of the day, and your teacher is already discussing today’s material.
Until the 2016-2017 school year, when you got to your first class you weren’t plunged into classwork but had five minutes to collect yourself before officially beginning the academic day.
Prior to the elimination of homeroom, the same students would straggle into the same classroom with the same teacher every morning for four years. At the early time of 7:20 a.m., it can be comforting to have a familiar face of a friend, teacher or another staff member, or even a person one talks to only in homeroom. Homeroom used to grant an opportunity for students to form relationships with a consistent teacher or classmates that could develop during high school.
This opportunity for relationship building was why homeroom was added to our school’s schedule according to former Assistant Principal Paul DiDomenico in a May 10, 2016 Harbinger article. No other classroom structure affords this amenity.
Many of us students are exhausted at the beginning of the school day. I would take those five minutes to shut my eyes and take a moment to prepare myself for the day ahead.
By the first bell, many students have spent over an hour on their trek from bed to the classroom. Five minutes to sit can really make or break someone’s morning.
Many students arrive by 7 a.m., some because their buses arrive this early and others because they choose to have 20 minutes to collect themselves. Neither group of early birds has the chance to congregate and settle each morning in a consistent way. Besides this year’s graduating class, no students have had the privilege of those five splendid minutes in their mornings, then so they see no issue with getting to school so much earlier than needed.
The decision to eliminate homeroom was made in an effort to wring every additional minute of the school day from “free” time to “classroom” time so as to meet state education standards. Those in favor of removing homeroom argued that keeping homeroom would result in making the school day longer. However, there are other ways to meet the Massachusetts requirements, for example, longer block periods to reduce time switching between classrooms as was experimented in the trial schedules in Winter 2018.
Seeing so many of my peers tired and discombobulated every morning is dismaying. The students are not anchored and not well-informed to start the day. Justification for restoring the homeroom period could be provided by the results of a wide-ranging survey of students and faculty. Should the results of such a survey bear out my opinion, I suggest adding homeroom to our schedules so that we, the students of Algonquin, can start our mornings on the right foot.