Why We Need Chat Every Day
December 19, 2013
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Recently there has been a lot of discussion over CHAT versus reinstalling 8th period. Both times are valuable for student/teacher collaboration, but CHAT is the better option for students and teachers. Some might even suggest the implementation of more CHATs a week, maybe even CHAT every day.
For those of you who don’t know what eighth period is, it’s taking everyone’s schedules and cutting off one period at the end of every other day to use as a study time. In other words, you would take seven classes instead of eight.
Teachers seem to like this option because it means that they don’t have to teach another class; however, they do have to monitor the room while people use their assigned classroom, making it difficult to administer help to more than one student at a time. Or, if they aren’t helping students taking their main classes, they may be helping students in their 8th period class, or they could be having to quiet down a loud room. Either way, they get less free time than if CHAT were to happen every day.
Eighth period is even worse for students because it’s essentially a forced study hall.
What if a student is really ambitious and wants to use up all eight classes without a study hall? Or, if you need to make up a test, you’d have to get a pass from the teacher in advance and take the test, but you could just walk straight into the teacher’s room during CHAT.
Administration doesn’t seem to like CHAT all that much, either, because people say that fights happen during CHAT. It’s true that fights wouldn’t break out during 8th period, but it seems like not that many fights have broken out this year anyway.
So let’s just forget about the idea of an 8th period completely, and move on to the collaboration time that would actually be beneficial for everyone in the school.
Yes, CHAT is good. CHAT is great. But having CHAT every day would be better for everyone.
Teachers would still have to monitor the halls, but if worked out the right way, it could be for one CHAT every week, giving students more opportunities to see their teachers, and this gives teachers more free time to plan and enjoy a longer lunch.
With CHAT only twice a week, the chances a student can make up an assignment or go in for help are already slim, but what if the teacher has CHAT duty on one of the days?
The student is now limited to one hour to meet with that teacher. What if they already said they’d make up another test that CHAT period?
Now they don’t get to see their teacher at all that week and might get a bad grade on the test or might not get an opportunity to make up missed work for who knows how long.
Teachers don’t like to have to monitor the hallways, and certain areas are especially loud, preventing students from doing work in the classrooms on that hall. One particular area is the hallway by the cafeteria and in the cafeteria. If trying to keep the noise down is the main duty of the monitors, then we should have fewer people watching where it’s quiet and more where it’s loud. When students see a lot of teachers watching their every move, they’re less tempted to produce chaos.
According to the administrative secretary Sandy Allen, there are approximately 135-140 full time teachers. Only 10 teachers need to monitor the halls during CHAT.
With CHAT 5 days a week that means 14 teachers could monitor each day, giving extra attention to the problem areas.
Parents have no reason to dislike 8th period, but they might find a reason to love CHAT every day.
If a student doesn’t have time to visit a teacher for help during CHAT as it is now, they might have to go in early or stay late for help.
If they don’t have a car that means parents have to adjust their schedules to drop their children off early or pick them up after school.
With CHAT every day, teachers would get more time to work with students and more time for their own lunches. Students would get more time to make up assignments. CHAT would become the regular schedule, and a fight would break out every so often, but administration might find them happening less frequently than with the schedule today.
It works out better than 8th period and better than CHAT as it is today.