Senior Classes Should Be More Like College Courses


Picture by Cody Wilson

By Cody Wilson, Editor-in-Chief

For many seniors, school is like prison. They come to the campus early, the towering gates close in on them, and they endure the daily grind of class upon class. Their schedules are highly-structured. Twice a day, the prisoners can leave their cells to interact with fellow inmates. The sentinels even liberate them to hustle to Burger King during their brief lunch period. However, those rascals had better return quickly so as not to miss any penal labor.

Of course, this analogy is heavy-handed, but it accurately reflects the reality seniors face. However, in that increasingly-less-distant, magical world known as college, students aren’t confined to a small set of classrooms to plod through endless hours. Instead, they have classes a few days of the week with blocks of time in between to study and take care of other responsibilities.

The sudden freedom is a slap in the face for many. This transition from teachers constantly changing diapers to professors expecting students to take education into their own hands can be difficult. But, Quartz Hill can take steps to make this transition easier for seniors.

Many students and teachers have been speaking lately about the possibility of giving students more freedom and responsibility during their last year in the cage. It may be impractical to adopt a “come as you please” approach like college, since public schools make money based on attendance. However, teachers for seniors (and maybe even juniors) could stagger their classes so students don’t need to meet every day.

Instructors often don’t have enough material to fill one hour for each day of the school week. Many could certainly condense their lessons into half the class time. If there is content they can’t cover as thoroughly, they could entrust students to learn it themselves, like professors often will do, and provide “office hours” to help students one-on-one as well. This loose schedule with more individual responsibility would prepare students for their more accountable role in college.

In the intervening time, students could work on scholarships or college applications, which is probably more important than whatever is being taught in class. If students can’t leave campus during intermissions, a quiet area like the library could be designated for studying, especially if students have a larger role in learning content individually.

As seniors have more to read and study on their own, teachers should cut back on busy work as well. They should abolish those daily worksheets and mandatory notes on topics with which students are already familiar. Note-taking shouldn’t be a grade but a responsibility to be done at the student’s own volition. In college, students (hopefully) won’t have professors assigning silly worksheets or checking that Cornell notes are meticulously complete with those pesky summaries and questions on the side.

This new framework might be unrealistic in every class, but the administration could at least try it in a limited capacity with AP and IB students. Seniors are mature enough to handle this schedule, and these classes are supposed to prepare them for college.

Until then, students can stick to the grind of digging and filling holes at the command of their prison guard while they think about the mountain of scholarship essays they need to write.