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EMILY DOUCETTE: Days off school can be enjoyable, but too many can make it difficult for P.E.I. students to learn

Days off school can be enjoyable, but too many can make it difficult for students to learn their subjects. GUARDIAN PHOTO
Student Emily Doucette weighs in on PD days in today’s column. GUARDIAN PHOTO

PD days, they’re beautiful. They mean sleeping in, wearing pyjamas all day, and not going to school. Really, there’s nothing better. An unscheduled day off every now and then is refreshing, but when it becomes a weekly deal; the excitement tends to die down.

Three-day weekends cut down on class time, making it difficult for students to obtain their necessary classroom hours. Students only have approximately five months to complete a course, and the constant delays can be very annoying - to both students and teachers.

Outlines for classes are based off the supposed class time they’ll have at the beginning of the year. As that class time decreases, the workload increases. It’s stressful. Teachers have a lot to cover and only so much time to do so. They have to rush through subjects to get things done. Students barely have time to learn one topic before they switch over to the next chapter, making it all the more difficult to retain information.

Though this issue affects all grades, it is real problem for those in Grade 11 math in particular. They have the largest outline in the Grade 11 curriculum, and they don’t have the option to skip a chapter. Every section is covered on the provincial wide assessment, whether it was covered in class or not. The constant days off make for a heavier workload, and irritated students.

In the month of October alone, only one week went by without a PD day. Understandably, the date of Thanksgiving couldn’t be helped; however, the two-day teachers’ federation convention could.

In the 2017-2018 school year, there are 12 scheduled days off school, not including statutory holidays, winter or march break. Also take into account the number of storms the Island is sure to receive this coming winter, and you can see where a problem is popping up for students.

How can students be expected to learn anything when every topic they start is followed by a three-day break? They don’t have the class time to learn the information they need to study, which makes it harder to do well in their classes. Considering Prince Edward Island is the worst performing province on The Conference Board of Canada’s education provincial rankings, the test scores of students are very important. They definitely need their class time.

Students are often told that they are not spending enough time in school. It’s said that, soon, their school year will have to extend into the summer. Well, if not for these constant days off, there would be no need for a longer school year. If students should spend more time in school, then leave them in school.

Emily Doucette is a Grade 12 student at Bluefield High School, who is completing a co-op work placement with The Guardian.

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