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Almost four months have passed, and we can safely say that the THHS community, however reluctant, has adjusted to this year’s bell schedule. Though club activity is largely still intact, after-school tutoring took the blow many anticipated with the change.
Since the bell schedule no longer mandates that teachers stay at school past 3 p.m., many head home right away. While teachers are entitled to doing that, they do so at the cost of students who seek extra help. If an underclassman’s one free band doesn’t align with when a teacher is free, then the student is left to either google the concept or seek help from a friend; both are constructive supplements to a teacher’s insight, but that’s all that they can be.
Aware that not every student is receptive to these alternatives, some teachers have encouraged their students to make appointments with them. This is the best work-around that currently exists, though a difficult one: appointments often take place during zero band or a lunch band, both of which are limited by their forty-minute durations.
The scenarios of appointments and tutoring sessions seem similar, but the former hasn’t worked out well. When teachers stayed for a time slot during enrichment, students could plan accordingly for it, whereas an appointment is subject to the teacher’s availability.
Of course, with all the differences between appointments and tutoring sessions, they are what students make of them, but at issue is a question of expectation. Should schools expect teachers to make themselves readily available beyond the school day? Should seeking help be a cumbersome process for students?
If the administration cannot compensate teachers for staying after school, then students can only count on the teacher’s generosity to make himself available for at least one day of the week. Teachers have the right to be paid, but their jobs are intrinsically a public service: they dedicated themselves to teaching the next generation, and though a flawed system cannot reward them for it, they are accountable for the student’s learning.
Whether the administration finds the money for after-school tutoring or comes up with alternative policies such as the previous enrichment schedule, it is clear that something must be done. With the new schedule, there isn’t enough time in the school day for the tutoring that the student body believes is needed to ensure a quality education.
And let us be clear: peer tutoring is not the answer.