Block Schedule Creates New Learning Enviroment in the Face of Uncertainty

Opinion by

Mia Dunker ’21


Post-corona Marian will experience a load of changes, including a new weekly schedule. This year, instead of three days of forty five minute-long classes and two block days with 90 minute-long classes, there will be five block days with two special schedule days, one typically on Wednesday with a late start and a 10- minute homeroom and one on corresponding days (typically on Thursdays) with an hour-long activity block

I have always seen block days as a nice break from the normal, faster-paced schedules of Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays. It was relaxing to be able to slow down and only have to worry about four classes instead of eight, and the extra day to do homework was a bonus, but my view of block days changed with online learning. While quarantine is obviously necessary for our safety, online school and I were not a good match. I disliked it not only because we couldn’t be in class together, but also because of there being four block days a week. 

Even though I enjoyed the classes I was taking, the 90 minute-long classes seemed to drag on. Plus, only going to classes twice a week made me feel disconnected from the material. While I am glad we are able to go back to Marian, I’m worried that some of those problems will carry over into this years’ schedule. Personally, I think the structure of three days of normal length classes with two block days struck a happy balance between being able to keep moving through class work and taking time to slow down and go more in-depth with certain topics.

I’m interested to see how the new schedule impacts the classes themselves and what we’re learning this year. Having each class either two or three times a week instead of four means that classes have to be completely restructured. At first glance, I was happy about potentially having a lighter workload, but I also wonder if having less time in class is going to translate into more work at home. We all learn differently, but I personally learn best in class with others, not on my own. I can see how going to classes three times a week instead of four could lead to more individual work outside of class than before.

Overall, I’m skeptical of this upcoming year’s schedule, but I really won’t know until I try it. We’ve been hearing it a lot these past months, but these are uncertain times- and that goes for everything about returning to school, including the schedule. I may not know how this new schedule is going to affect me and my classes this year, but we’re all going through the same process of adjusting to our new reality together.

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