Following the unexpected virtual anomaly of the previous school year, MC administrators have used this year as an opportunity to improve the on-campus experience for the MC community. Notably, a wave of technology has been integrated into classrooms, including access to Chromebooks for all students and Zoom meetings used to expose students to colleges and careers. Regardless, the starkest development at MC leaves its mark on the bell schedule: homeroom.
A 22-minute space of time between break and third period has been left for this new addition to Tuesday’s bell schedule. Created as a safe space for students to socialize, learn about MC’s numerous clubs and programs, and provide feedback for a “great student experience for all Sundevils,” students were divided into classrooms of about 20 individuals of the same grade and assigned a random teacher for this period.
Google Slides lessons created by administrators, such as those regarding student support systems and unique ways to get involved in the campus culture, are often implemented in homeroom. From discussion questions and school announcements to social exercises and games, teachers encourage students to engage with one another and their community. Despite the initial intent, students and teachers doubt the efficacy of this practice. In a poll conducted by the MC Sun, 734 students, teachers, and staff were surveyed on how they feel about homeroom.
“While homeroom may be beneficial for underclassmen, upperclassmen generally know each other already,” an anonymous freshman said. “In addition, some teachers don’t use the same engaging techniques to make their homeroom classes fun, so it’s disadvantageous for others who have to sit through it as if it was another class period.”
Considering the current homeroom set-up, however, a whopping 75 percent of poll-takers find the “extra break time” to be a helpful aspect of homeroom. Other characteristics are less appreciated; the runner-ups being socialization and MC news announcements sitting at 37.2 and 35.7 percent respectively.
Recently, many students have been advocating for better mental health resources, yet only 21.4 percent of people claim mental health support is viable in homeroom.
“I enjoy switching up the schedule every once in a while and getting to hang out with a new group of people, but it always feels like no one knows what we are supposed to be doing. We go through boring activities which seem like they are meant to connect classmates and support mental health, but they feel way too forced to achieve either of those goals. We have started doing a bunch of mental health-related stuff which I think is a great idea but it isn’t executed very well. Everything we’ve done is more addressing our issues but not doing anything to fix them,” a freshman said.
Between freshmen, sophomores, juniors, seniors, teachers, and administrators, the rate concerning whether or not they like homeroom is relatively, equally split. On the other hand, administrators and juniors appear to like homeroom the most whereas sophomores have fewer students who like it.
However, it seems that teachers, staff, and students alike agree that homeroom should continue with some added adjustments.
“Students should be allowed to be with friends (rather than a randomly chosen room) during this time if we want it to be a time of relaxation and a sort of break from the other periods. Maybe consider suggestion boxes since people don’t like publicly sharing their opinions,” a freshman said.
Most students, like this freshman, suggest a re-do of homeroom assignments, preferring to be with their friends during this period. Others would rather be reassigned to a teacher with whom they have an established relationship.
“I think that every student should write down 5 teachers they like and they could be put into their classroom, so the student would be more comfortable with a teacher they like,” a junior said.
Seniors, now working on college applications, request more support from school during homeroom concerning college information, tips, and assistance.
“Maybe talk more about courses, plans for college, future, and things students are managing now or plan to in the future to benefit them with other’s advice/perspectives,” a senior said.
Perhaps changing the amount of time homeroom lasts is the start of a solution to improve this 22-minute long period. While most poll-takers agree that 22 minutes is the perfect amount of time, about a third of poll-takers wish for a longer period of time.
“I wish that homeroom was with different grade levels. Having different grade levels, all students can learn from our upper classmen’s experiences. Students can ask upperclassmen about classes that they’ve taken and learn about the pros and cons of them. This model can also be used to motivate our younger students to strive and push themselves to part-take in the MC community when they are new here,” one staff member said.
Homeroom is a contentious subject for the MC Sundevils. While a split issue, however, everyone agrees that homeroom has the potential to make a real impact on this school to make a stronger, more connected community through mental health support, better methods of socialization, and even down-time. It is unlikely that Homeroom will be scrapped, but hopefully, effective changes are soon to come.