How do three-day weekends affect online learning?

Manasa Krishnan, Staff Writer

Because remote learning limits instruction time, 3-day weekends bring on additional challenges. Some teachers feel they need to alter their lesson plans to compensate for the lost time; others see it as an opportunity to assist students or assign work.

With the time constraint, teachers are not able to use their time  as well as they could in a one-hour class period. Mr. Aaron Cheng, a math teacher at Amador Valley, believes that he could be doing more.

“I believe that the 3 day weekends that result in short Tuesdays are rough. For the most part, I cannot teach a full lesson in 30 minutes. Since I cannot teach a full lesson, the day is ‘wasted’ on review or an introduction to the full lesson that happens later on in the week. I also cannot give meaningful homework based on such a short day,” said Cheng.

While she enjoys seeing all her students in one day, Ms. Danielle Hubbard, an English teacher, feels that the shorter schedule is cramped, as she has had to use additional days to cover her course material.

“This past three-day weekend, I was only able to begin one fishbowl discussion in my Lit and Social Justice class; and normally we could cover 4-5 groups in one normal class session. In my other class I had to postpone assigning their essay assignment for an additional two days,” said Hubbard.

Unlike Mr. Cheng and Mrs. Hubbard, some teachers feel the opposite. Although he is not a fan of 3-day weekends, Mr. Antonio Yovino, a history teacher at Amador, prefers to utilize this time to help students. He often spends the short period giving instructions to big projects and assignments.

“I had to change my schedule this week, actually. I had time for students to work on a larger project, but I found a relevant documentary on youtube that had visuals and stories that would help better understand the unit. Instead of giving time to work on the project, I showed the video in class to give my students an opportunity to view the history from an expert opinion. I thought it was a better use of their time as opposed to them trying to find the information on their own,” said Yovino.

Similarly, Ms. Julie Boe, an English teacher at Amador, uses her 30 minutes to help her students. While she has had to reschedule tests, due dates, and assignments, she feels that it’s important to make the best out of a challenging situation.

“I generally use the shortened periods to check in on my students, assess their understanding of our current lessons, and review class expectations and norms. Every quarter, I prioritize the lessons and skills I want to teach my students, and go from there. But here’s the reality: we are all in the midst of a global pandemic. Life is not normal, and we cannot force it to be normal. Both students and teachers require patience and grace as we weather this storm together. I cannot complain about shortened class periods because I have shelter, food, family, friends, and Zoom. I am ok,” said Boe.