— by Peter Ly ’23
This year, Bellarmine has introduced another part of the block schedule, which was implemented beginning last year. For the current sophomores and freshmen on campus, the prior Bellarmine schedule used to hold 6 classes in a single day, which meant more homework and more classes to worry about. Seeing the amount of stress that this schedule could create, Bellarmine moved towards a block schedule with 8 different class times, and each student would have 1 Cura class during that time period. The administration had also planned to add what we all know as community time since the fall of 2020, but COVID unfortunately made us wait another year to see what it truly is. During community time, Bells can go and attend clubs, attend school organized events such as Club Day, or they can just relax with their friends and talk. Community time has not been met with much controversy so far, since it provides a time to rest or get a head start on homework.
One of the things that have some students worried about, other than the slightly late lunch time, is about flex time. For many students, all of their teachers have their office hours during those two 45 minute sections, and this can cause some issues. An anonymous student said that it could be difficult to attend multiple office hours if a student needs help in more than one class. Without staggered office hours, a student who has just returned from an extended absence could struggle to meet with each teacher to make up material or complete missed assessments.
Moreover, some students find that flex time doesn’t provide enough time to seriously get down to business. Some Bells believe that 45 minutes is not enough time to fully begin studying, considering the time spent during “transitionining” (for example, going to the library and settling down to begin working requires some time; leaving the library for after-school events also takes time; considering the time needed for these sorts of “transitions,” 45 minutes may not be enough to get meaningful work done). As a result, some students are stuck in a limbo of whether they should start their homework or if they should just do something else entirely, like hanging out with friends.
Lastly, some students find that the rigid times for flex time make it difficult for them to ask their teachers questions regarding upcoming tests. For example, if a student has a test on Monday, it would be difficult to spend meaningful and extensive time during office hours to prepare for the test since the last time the teacher would have office hours would be on Wednesday the week before. The addition of flex time also makes it somewhat difficult for students to ask for a separate meeting outside of flex time, because that time is formally established for students.
However, the addition of flex time is mostly positive. Firstly, it allows students to extensively collaborate with one another because more students are going to office hours, another obvious benefit. Additionally, it allows students to organize their day beforehand — instead of having to memorize office hour times for each teacher, flex time provides a rigid structure that allows students to know what is going on. For other students who do not have a large amount of homework on a particular night, flex time provides the time to destress prior to an activity that many students desire.
The creation of flex time has been a boon for many students at the beginning of the year since it has created a time where a large number students can receive help for their classes. However, later in the year, when more excused absences will occur and students require help in more of the classes, these students will have to seek help outside of flex time to improve their grades.