Is flex necessary for all students or should it just be an option for those that need it?
Last year, Fremont faced a year of uncertainty due to the widespread conditions of Covid-19. With this came masks, social distancing, contact tracing, shorter school days, and no flex time. Many students enjoyed this newfound freedom, using their extra time after school to start jobs, sports, and homework earlier. When flex time was reinstated this year, many questioned the point to the extra 35 minutes in school. For many students, it is simply a time to mess around, play on their phones, or chat with friends, not get work done. Then for others, it serves as a time to make up missed work, make corrections, or get needed help from a teacher.
When students need help, Flex can be an optimal time to see their teachers, make up assignments, or work quietly on a test. When a student misses a day, Flex is the perfect opportunity to get caught up on any work they might have missed in a class. When teachers create a quiet workspace for their students, this opens up a focused environment that students should and can take advantage of to study or work.
Unfortunately, many students either don’t take advantage of flex time when they need it, or simply don’t need the extra time. Instead of sitting quietly, they will chat with their friends. Some teachers and classrooms have opened their classrooms for games and activities which can often draw the students with light workloads away from the quieter classes. Consequently, now these same teachers cannot provide workspaces for struggling students in their own day-to-day classes. Often, I have found flex to be useless. I have appreciated the times where I get requested out to catch up on any work I might be behind in, just because it breaks up the monotony of the 35 minutes.
Instead of being placed after second period, flex-time should be after fourth period, at the end of the day. Teachers can have a list of students that have below C’s that get updated every week. These students do not get to go home after fourth, but instead have to stay for the flex time and work on improving their grades. The students with Cs or better in all of their classes are allowed to use flex-time to go home and get an early start on their after-school activities, whatever they may be. Students that take the buses will simply have to wait the extra 35 minutes, just like when they woke up early during Fremont’s late-starts a few years ago.
This effectively rewards the students with good grades and helps improve the students with poorer grades. It provides an incentive for all students to work harder in their classes and ensures that all classes can become quiet, focused work spaces without students that have nothing to work on or do. Flex time should be directed towards kids who need it and there should be a further incentive for them to stay caught up in their classes.