As the end-of-class bell rings, everyone starts to shift, and the halls are filled with students and teachers going different ways. Getting to the restroom or taking a mask break becomes hard even if you can make it out in time. Some teachers switch classrooms and prepare for their next class in only five minutes. Five minutes seems like a lot, but when traveling across the school for classes it is barely enough.
At the end of the 2020-2021 school year, the administrative system decided to lower the passing time from nine minutes to only five minutes. Principal Jim Antonelli explained how the change was made to meet the classroom time requirement of the state. While this time is less than last year it is still longer than years past, which had a four-minute passing period. This time may be needed but most are not happy about it.
I’ve heard students complain that there is no time to talk to friends or go outside for a quick break. I believe students need time between classes to re-focus and prepare for their next class, even if that means grabbing a binder out of their locker or checking that they are going to the correct block.
Some students want to meet with their friends, whether to talk about previous classes or walk to their next one together. I can barely get to my next class without getting lost in the school, I may go to the history hallway instead of the science hallway, or if I go to the complete wrong block.
We also still have to wear masks, which can be very challenging as we wear them for hours at a time, as we all experienced last year. To prevent some students from taking mask breaks during class, they can take one during passing time. Some students can take a walk outside with friends without a mask, socially distanced.
Getting to a door to exit and walking may take at least five minutes, so with the current passing times, that won’t add up. I would love to go outside for even two minutes to get myself ready for the next class. Now, this could work but then I would have only three minutes to get to my seat.
In addition, the hallways get completely filled with students going in all different directions. During passing times, if I need to change floors, I have to get through the stairs, which is an extremely slow process. Some stairways are so full you can’t get through the door to enter or exit.
The hallways are no longer one way, which allows students to get to some classes faster, but it also allows students to go in multiple directions. This leads to maneuvering their way around other people.
While students settle into their classes, teachers are in a rush to get their lesson plans. Teachers have to switch classrooms for different blocks. Many teachers have to allow the students to have an extra two or three minutes of relaxing time in class so that they can let themselves prepare, using up class time. Passing times could help teachers because they need to prepare in order to teach to the best of their ability.
I strongly urge the administrative team to look at making passing times between classes longer, working with the requirements and the students to create a more flexible schedule.