Is Cancelling Class Cancelled

Alice Bolandhemat Your day is packed: no free periods, just class after class. You check your email to see your teacher has cancelled your next block. You smile and sigh in relief. Perhaps you didn’t do the homework or needed some free time to get other work done. But this year, this scenario seems to be occurring less and less frequently. Students have noticed a considerable decrease in the number of cancelled classes. Does cancelling a class hurt or benefit Latin’s students? Are substitute teachers helpful alternatives? A student might find a free period more useful than having a substitute. Everyone has their own space in the school where they feel they can be most productive. For some it’s the library, for others it’s gallery two. “I find that having a class cancelled allows me to accomplish a lot more. If I need extra assistance, I can always go to the department’s office,”  Amy Lee ‘20 said. Although having your class cancelled gives you the opportunity to work on assignments for multiple classes, it is difficult for some students to concentrate when many areas of the school are loud. Plus, there is no way for a teacher to guarantee student productivity during the period unless an adult is present. “Even though a substitute doesn’t always have a ton of knowledge on what we are learning, I enjoy learning in an environment where students display the respect and discipline that they would if their teacher were around,” Siona Gupta ‘20 said. Senior Dean and Upper School English teacher Mr. Woods explained, “It really depends on the course. In 9th, 10th, and even 11th grade, classes are rather general. Most teachers, even someone from the outside, could offer a substantial amount of help to any student who needed it. However, once you get to upper level courses, they are so specific that it would be extremely difficult for anyone other than the teacher to properly teach the class.” Regardless of who the adult chosen to fill in is, Mr. Woods thinks cancelling a class “puts those students at a disadvantage. Even doing something as simple as discussing the material with your peers can clarify confusions and provide you with newfound knowledge.” Interim Assistant to the Head of the Upper School and Tenth Grade Dean Ms. Wells says, “for educational purposes, cancelling a class is often not in the student’s or teacher’s best interest. Whether or not the teacher is present, class is always an opportunity to learn.” Also, if a class is cancelled, students may leave campus, which “is not necessarily reassuring for parents who assume their child is in class.” She continues, “Although cancelling a class is sometimes unavoidable, it should be a last resort. It is not forbidden, but it sets students in the cancelled class back.” Although there is not definite rule that a teacher is not allowed to cancel a block, it is discouraged by several faculty members who do not see the benefit of doing so. The decrease in cancelled classes may be upsetting to some students and faculty, but to others, it provides greater opportunity for students to remain productive and to continue learning. ]]>