My first period Juniors this morning waddled into the classroom in their bundled up uniformed-selves. Their slow movement and long faces were difficult to ignore. The weather outside is frightful (for Floridians that is). It's 47 degrees, gray and dark. It is also Friday morning. I started with some simple morning conversation...
"Hey, good morning, how are things?" I said in my normal chipper tone.
"Sigh, I have 3 tests today: math, bio and a well a graded discussion."
"Yeah, today sucks, I have 2 quizzes and 2 tests"
"I have a close reading and a AP bio test."
The list of tests, quizzes, assignments continued. Every student was worried about something. In that moment I had a decision to make. I could smile and say, not to worry Plato isn't stressful at all! Lecture and go ahead and throw that next assignment on their already overflowing plates or I could give them an extra hour to study for everything else they have going on. Before my sainthood is petitioned to Pope Benedict, it should also be said that this class is exactly where they need to be where the other two sections of juniors I see today are not. It should also be said that I too am bundled up and ready to take a nap, even if it's only 8:19AM.
I announced my decision, "Study Hall." There was dancing in the streets! One late young man walked in, I asked him to go a late slip and told him I just gave the class a study hall. He literally cheered. He was so relieved to have the extra time. So happy.
In some high schools across the country, shoot across the Bay even, teenagers given a free period would more than likely play computer games, text on their phones, chat with their neighbor, ask to go to the bathroom 15 times...not my students. Seriously, silence. Not a word has been spoken. Every student has a book out. Every single one is working. It's truly and educational miracle!
On this gloomy Friday morning, I have given the gift of time to 9 deserving students and gosh darn it, I like myself for it.