Thursday, December 19, 2019

School Start Times

“Could children perform better in school if they rested more with later school start times?”

I know that when I was in school, there was one start time for all grades. When I started teaching school, there was one start time for all grades. Eventually, they staggered elementary, middle/junior high and high school times.

They staggered times, not because it benefited the students’ academic achievement, but to help with parent drop off times and before/after school care.

I don’t believe having students start later will help students perform better.

If students need 8 hours of sleep, then we need to get them in bed at the appropriate time for them to get the necessary rest. Many children do not have a designated bedtime and go to bed whenever they feel like it. Of course, they won’t get enough rest and will result in poor performance. They need to get off electronic devices at least two hours before bedtime. Develop sleep time habits for getting ready for bed such as storytelling or reading before turning out the light.

Allowing students to start school later may be teaching bad habits for developing job skills. Will they tell the employer that they can’t come to work when expected because they perform better when arriving late? They may have difficulty keeping a job. I know that I won’t perform well at my job if I don’t get enough rest. If I have to get up at a certain time, I know that I need to go to bed at a certain time, so I have enough rest and won’t be tired at work.

I think when people start talking about changing start times or increasing school hours, they are not looking at what is best for students. They have a hidden agenda that is masquerading as something that will benefit students.

People who want to change something can show all sorts of studies and statistics to skew things in their favor. But I think it is time to look past this kind of propaganda and use common sense. If students need more rest, then go to bed earlier! Students will perform better if they come to school with the necessary materials, have completed their homework, and focus in the classroom. There needs to be more teamwork between parents and teachers instead of an adversarial atmosphere. Teachers who are not overwhelmed with constant national/state/local testing and redundant paperwork can spend their time effectively teaching. These are things that will help student performance!

How do you feel about later school start times? Do you think it will really help students perform better?

Photo by Gregory Pappas on Unsplash

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