Daily Third Period Has Students Talking About Schedule

Lancer Time is over. The bell rings. Students rush the halls, talking to friends, running to classes, and opening lockers. Seventh grader Charlotte W., a student at Longfellow Middle School walks through the halls to her 3rd period class, Health and P.E. with Mr Jenkins.

Third period and Lancer Time are the only classes that happen every day. Third period is only 45 minutes, compared to the 85-minute block classes that meet every other day.  It also incorporates recess, either before or after the class. Charlotte has mixed emotions about the schedule. 

“I think the pros are that you get to see your friends every day, and  if you really love that class you get to have it every day,” said  Charlotte, “but I think the cons are you don’t learn as much, and you don’t have enough time to get your work done, and it can just be a lot because it’s super short.” 

Eighth graders, who were here last year, did not have a third period every day in seventh grade, and they also did not have recess.  But whether it’s new or not, students are having trouble adjusting between the pacing of an 85 or 90-minute every-other-day class and a 45-minute daily class. 

“I think teachers should not cram too much stuff in [a class], ” said Julia C., an eighth grader student in Andrew Scudder’s 3rd-period science class. Julia sometimes feels overwhelmed with the amount of work in the shorter class.  

Technically,  they get more overall hours than an 85-minute class.  Over two weeks, a standard block class gets 7 hours and  5 minutes, whereas 3rd period gets 7 hours and 30 minutes. Despite the difference,  the class just feels more compressed. 

“Sometimes my teacher posts way too much stuff,” said Julia. She feels that he posts the same amount of work for the 45-minute class as for the longer block.  “[It]  just doesn’t make any sense because the third period goes by really quickly.” 

According to Scudder, planning a third  period class is more difficult than the others, especially since they lose time every day to transitions.  He also explained that it is harder to  make up time from one class to the next with less time to work with.  

“With science, in particular, we have to keep all classes on a similar schedule due to labs and projects. That makes managing time and activities in the 45-minute classes more of a challenge, “ said Mr Scudder.

Though next year’s schedule may or may not stay the same, there are many students and even a few teachers that would like to see it change.