It’s already the start of our fourth quarter as we begin classes again this week after a restful spring break! I can’t believe it; the school year has flown by quicker than I thought.
Below I will show two pie charts: One shows the “balanced calendar” and the other shows the “traditional calendar”.
The school where I teach uses the traditional calendar. While it looks like a good deal on the chart, it puts more pressure on teachers to get through the curriculum before the end of the school year. The traditional model structures itself around top-down, lecture-styled classroom instruction. The teachers do most of the talking and students are quiet. While projects and other methods of learning may be used, the time component is lacking for adequate length.
This is in stark contrast to the balanced calendar, as seen below.
I’d rather use the “balanced calendar” model. In that model, school would most likely run year-round but teachers can split up the curriculum better and cover it at a better pace. It gives teachers more time for individual student attention, and may even help better facilitate project-based learning.
Unfortunately, neither I nor any of my coworkers have much of a say in the school calendar. If we did, I would suggest that we move to the second model as it spaces out better over the year than the first model. For this quarter, I will try to keep my curriculum content on pace but I know realistically that it won’t go that way. There are some topics that we won’t cover this year. The content and the pace at which I cover it always adjusts to the needs of my students. If they struggle with a certain topic, I’ll slow things down a bit to ensure they fully understand it. Likewise if there are concepts that seem too easy for them, I will speed things up and move on to a more challenging part, or have them complete a project to assess their level of understanding.
Whether we get through all the curriculum or not doesn’t matter. What I do care about is that my students are successful, and that they can apply the skills and lessons they’ve learned in their daily lives.
What good is education without practical application?