By Oscar Wolfe
Lately, when my mom asks me how my day was at school, one word pretty much sums it up: boring. I realized that I needed to stop complaining and offer a solution. So here are the things that I would change about school to make it less boring.
My school has a block schedule. This means that instead of having 7 or 8 classes lasting about 45 minutes each day, I have an alternating schedule of 4 classes lasting about 85 minutes each. On one day, I’ll have half my classes, the next day, the other half. Before I get into the part that I don’t like about this system, I do want to acknowledge a part that I do like about it. Since it is an alternating schedule, I never have homework due the next day. I always have enough time to do my homework. Now for the part I would change. Since each class is so long, if a class is boring me, I don’t have to put up with it for 45 minutes, I have to sit through a class putting me to sleep for a full 85 minutes! So, all it takes is one class to be bad and a huge portion of that day is already gone. If it were up to me, I would choose a schedule with 7 or 8 45 minute classes.
Make it a game.
I know this sounds kind of cheesy, but it’s true. There are two reasons that making class a game works: reward and competition. As childish as it sounds, if a teacher adds something as simple as a pack of fruit snacks to a game, I am instantly more interested. The prospect of any reward, no matter how small, can make anything more interesting. And by a game, it could be a well known educational game website like Kahoot, or it could be something completely made up by a teacher or even a student. And about that competition aspect. I’m pretty competitive, and I know for a fact that I’m not the only one. Oftentimes nowadays, everyone’s a winner. But I feel like I’m at the point in life where I no longer need to be treated like a baby. In reality, people lose and people win. Not everyone can win. This should be shown in the classroom, just maybe not so cynically. Basically, I’m going to work a lot harder in a class if there is a chance that I could beat or be beaten by my classmates in an activity. This competitiveness works even without a reward. Winning is reward enough in my opinion.
This is something that I feel very strongly about. Many kids, teens, and even adults don’t know what they want to do in life because they were never given the opportunity to experiment with their options when they were younger. So not only does a lack of choices in school make it more boring, it makes choices later in life a whole lot harder to make. There are three ways more choices could be made more available: classes, in-class decisions, and extracurriculars. For classes, we could have more options we want to take. Also, we could re-pick every semester instead of having the same classes for the entire year. For in-class decisions, teachers could offer different ways of learning the same material. This is already done to a certain extent at my school, but not nearly enough. Learning should be more specialized for each individual student. Addressing hundreds of kids or teens with a single type of lesson simply does not work for many students within the group. And lastly, extracurriculars. The main problem for this one would probably be the school’s budget. But if able, I think that as many extracurriculars should be offered as possible, and not just sports. A wide variety of clubs and sports can give students something to look forward to, even if classes themselves are boring.
In conclusion, I know these three things take a lot of work, but they should still be used as ideals to work for to make school a little less boring.