The Student news source for West Shore Junior/Senior High School

The Roar

The Student news source for West Shore Junior/Senior High School

The Roar

The Student news source for West Shore Junior/Senior High School

The Roar

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Break loose: students, teachers debate vacation duration

Rigorous academic expectations have students and staff alike craving breaks. With make-up days and the changes to their academic schedule, students wonder about the long-term effect on their vacation time.

“We get drowned in so much work, and I feel like it’s important for everybody to have a break,” junior Mariam Hassan said. “There come certain times where it’s exhausting, and [school] can be draining.”

AP Psychology teacher Athena Pietrzak expressed concern about how certain spans of time away from school result in more need for review afterwards due to effects on memory.

“In psychology, the precept of the shorter break is going to save that retention and memory, so the longer the break, the more memory loss,” Pietrzak said.

Though some studies agree with the benefits of shorter breaks, seventh-grader Alia E. said she still treasures longer breaks, such as Thanksgiving and winter breaks.

“I like them better because they just give your brain a rest and just give your whole body a nice long pause, a break,” she said.

Sophomore Hlla Waregh said she prefers shorter breaks, as after a long break, more review days are needed to refresh students’ memories of the material, especially when longer breaks fall in the middle of a unit.

“It’s hard to match your pace once you come back from a long break,” Waregh said. “At the beginning of the year, teachers end up having to spend a week or two simply reviewing, which is a bit of a waste of valuable time.”

Pietrzak said she tries to get ahead of that issue and plans out test dates for the end of units before the beginning of larger, week-long breaks.

“I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t hitting the kids all at the same time and that everything was done before the break,” Pietrzak said.

Uncontrollable events such as hurricanes and other circumstances that threaten public safety lead to make-up days and put smaller breaks, such as three-day weekends, in jeopardy. Social Science Teacher and Curriculum Resource Specialist Kirk Murphy said make-up days often confuse teachers as well as students.

“Even if they add in days after you’ve missed a week or more for hurricanes, it seems like after that point you’re playing catch-up for the whole year,” Murphy said.


By Amanda Madjid

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