The Paw Print

Why We Should Have Free Periods and How We Can Implement Them

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Jane Hilger and Savannah Jackson discuss a book during some free time.

Jane Hilger and Savannah Jackson discuss a book during some free time.

Jane Hilger and Savannah Jackson discuss a book during some free time.

Sophia Hilger, Stella Johnson, and Sarah Rubin

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Students can utilize free periods, a length of time allotted in the school day, as a study hall, a time to talk to teachers about questions they may have, or simply a time for a break from the stressful school day schedule.  Free periods are something many schools have, and they do not count as a class or something that would have an effect on a student’s GPA. Wilde Lake should institute an option of a free period for students to add in to their schedule.

At some schools, every student has a necessary free period worked into their schedule. This is true for many private schools in the state of Maryland. “I like having them,” said Carolyn Smith, a senior at Notre Dame Preparatory School. “It gives me a mental break and an opportunity to catch up on work.”

Another example of a school with required free periods is Severn School, a private high school in Annapolis. Sam Agro, a senior at Severn School said that “Free periods give me time to center myself between academic periods, and they allow me to complete my work with my peers in a productive setting.”  

Having a free period allows students with gruelling and difficult schedules to take a break and possibly work on their assignments with their classmates in a school setting. This break in the school day gives all students time to relax or catch up, making the overall school experience less of a negative feeling.

“They give us a chance to do homework, study, or relax, and escape from the grind of our normal classes,” said Garner Randazzo, a senior at Loyola Blakefield High School.

Free periods could be helpful for students who have many extracurricular activities or a job that takes away their time after school. Sports take up a large amount of the students’ time. Students who participate in sports all year round may face complications when trying to juggle their schoolwork as well. Instead of being awake in the middle of the night to finish homework, students could complete their work while still in school.

Home environments can also be a difficult place to study for some people, as there’s so many things to be easily distracted by. With siblings and other distractions, it could take a while for someone to become focused enough to complete their homework assignments. With a specified time at school, there are more opportunities for studying, completing homework, and being productive.

At the moment, Wilde Lake High School has a once a week study hall period called “Wilde Cat Time.” This 30-minute time block is an insufficient amount of time, as multiple students can’t even use it to study since they go to a club that takes place exclusively at that time. Since this time is only once a week, those students who can’t use it for studying are left without any in-school study time.

Another issue with Wilde Cat Time is the fact that some teachers misuse the time  and keep teaching their second period class. They use that time to try to finish the lesson they were on, even though the time isn’t technically theirs to be using anymore.

Since that interval isn’t enough time for students, it would be more ideal to have a Wilde Cat Time every day of the week. With this adjustment, there would be a secured studying time for all students, which could improve grades and homework completion.

High schoolers also have to deal with an environment full of distractions, and don’t have one where they can eat and study at the same time. For example, if a student wanted to go to the media center during their lunch period, they would have to forgo eating; as food is not allowed in the Media Center.

Every student should have an allotted time in their school schedule for a free period. Whether they need to get work done, ask teachers questions, or just want a break from school work, free periods are a good way to grant students what they need to be as productive as possible.  Adding a free period to the school day wouldn’t take away more than five minutes from each class, which Wilde Lake already does once a week. It would be an easy and much needed adjustment to Wilde Lake’s school routine.

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Why We Should Have Free Periods and How We Can Implement Them