Recharging creates productivity

We need three day Excel back

Starting off this school year, our days already looked different from last year. Our mask mandate was fully lifted, new phone rules were implemented into our classrooms, the no pass list was reinstated and the number of Excel periods were shortened. I understand the reasoning behind each of these rules, but shortening the amount of Excel days we’re given is too far.

Excel is some of the most important time we as students get to have each week, and having it shortened to only two days has a larger impact on students than administration may think.

When Excel became fewer days a week, I was honestly confused and frustrated because last year I thought Excel had gone great. During this time, I could do homework, talk to teachers and sometimes retake tests. 

Excel is more than just a time to catch up on work. Excel is a time where we can de-stress by not having to worry about a class. This helps us get more out of our classes, giving us a much needed break. On days I have Excel, I often feel more prepared for my later classes because I have had a break, and I’ve also had time to make sure I have what I need to begin class.

Additionally, Excel is also a period for us to do things that we may not have time to do during passing time. I always feel rushed going to the bathroom between classes, so on days I have Excel I get to utilize that time to do so, which also saves valuable class time.

The decision to change Excel to two days a week was made by the curriculum chairs, which are teachers who overlook each subject. According to Vice Principal Ashley Schwarzbek, due to returning after the pandemic, the state recommended schools incorporate more support time in 2021 for students throughout their day. 

Who decided we stopped needing that support? It shouldn’t matter if we had a break that lasted two weeks, or one that lasted two years. As students, we need mental support regardless of the pandemic. Decreasing the amount of time we are given to ourselves is simply not fair.

Before last year, Excel was always two days a week, and Schwarzbek heard many teachers, along with administrations opinions about how students weren’t using their Excel time wisely. She said students used Excel last year as a time to socialize, rather than focusing on school work. Which was a major factor in the decision to revert Excel back to two days.

I noticed some of the same things last year. I saw students not utilizing Excel in ways they should have. However, there are countless students who showed up to Excel each day, and got straight to their work. If there is an issue with a student using their class time wrong, the teacher should be communicating that to the student, rather than shortening Excel as a whole.

Another way we can destress is by socializing. So why would this be considered a misuse of Excel? Being able to talk with my friends and socialize with my classmates can help give me a break from school. The only unstructured learning time we as students are granted is Excel, so if we want to use this time to socialize, that should be our decision.

I know I’m not alone in feeling like valuable time was taken away from me this year. I hope the administrators can see how valuable this time is to students, so that in the future, whether that be next semester, or next school year, we can see more Excel time for students being implemented.