Are Wednesdays here to stay? -Counter

Settle our Wednesday frustrations

Augustus Hawk, Editorials Editor

Students all over the Upper School groggily wake up and Zoom into grade
meetings. Seeing none of our academic classes on Knight Life, we think, “It’s a
weekend!” Sadly, not really. Grade meeting at 8:30, advisory at 9:00, clubs from
9:20 to 12:20, sports from 1 to 2:30, and 45 minutes of homework from every class
since teachers know we have two days to do it. To top that all off, if you are one of
us lucky Vanguard editors, you have an hour-long meeting at 6 p.m. Don’t get us
wrong; the break from the cranking gears of online school is nice, but not at the
cost of the week’s natural rhythm and all the X blocks we could enjoy balanced
throughout the week.
Let’s start with the main issue on current Wednesdays: clubs. With only three
blocks free for Wednesdays unlike the four X blocks and one Activities during last
year’s schedule, many students have had to choose between two or more clubs
they love. Medical Club during FEMCO, Speech and Debate during Model UN,
Investment Club during Entrepreneurship Club—the conundrum is chaos, and
many of us lament lost club opportunities.

These conflicts are especially prominent for students in performing arts. One of
our editors, who leads the virtual Latin Club at 9:20 a.m. and plays in the orchestra
at 10:20 a.m., must miss half of Latin Club to leave home and arrive in time to join
other musicians at school. It’s nearly impossible for performing arts students like
him to partake in clubs during both blocks.
Performing arts themselves have taken a huge hit with the new Wednesday
schedule. Every art teacher we’ve talked to agrees that, barring public health
exceptions, the old schedule with room for meetings on more than one day a week
is preferable.
Once-a-week meetings slow down learning, with the beginning of performing
arts practices invariably spent refreshing prior instruction. Arts like chorale or
theater can be the only reason a student comes into school on Wednesday, so
students with longer commutes and no adults to drive them must participate
virtually, and students who use arts as academic or athletic credit must always
attend and thus miss the chance to participate in most clubs.
Before this new schedule, X blocks were for meeting with teachers and
advisors. Dissolving them all—or migrating them all to Wednesday—has
diminished student opportunities to meet with teachers throughout the week
and rendered lunch the only free time all faculty and students consistently
share.
Meanwhile, since classes must meet four times a week, students have all of
their courses’ homework on Monday and Thursday nights, causing an unhealthy
imbalance of relaxing Wednesdays and high-stress Mondays and Thursdays.
The dizzy, unorganized week makes Tuesday nights feel like Fridays, which
extinguishes much of the impulse to do homework. We know none of our work
is due the next day, so even if we want to do all homework Tuesday, pushing it
off to Wednesday is sometimes too hard to resist. Thursdays used to feel exciting,
with three days of work behind and only two more days until the weekend; now
they feel like Mondays, since we must snap out of “break” mode and return to the
rhythm of school. We don’t get that build of a five-day work week that can make
Thursdays far more welcome and Fridays so much more of a rewarding treat with
a clear cutoff between work and repose.
If we have the choice, returning next year to a five-day academic week with X
blocks would decrease our daily workload and stress, provide us ample time to
meet with teachers, and keep our activities from interfering with each other. The
weeks would once again “Zoom” by.