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The Thames Valley School Board are investigating the “brilliant” idea of having our secondary school students begin their classes at 9.00, 10. or even 11.

At present most of the classes begin at 8.20 and end at 2.40 with an hour for lunch to break up the day. Gosh, a five hour work load for the students with the teachers teaching three out of four periods along with lunch. The students will be able to sleep in longer in their beds rather then in class. The theory is that they can go to bed later and wake up more refreshed to take on their hard day of studies. Sure.

School starts right after Labor Day and finishes at the end of June. There are 194 school days excluding the six days set aside for Professional Development for the teaching staff. Ten days are set aside for the Christmas Holidays and five days for March Break vacation.

Gee, I nearly forgot the two months off in the summer for vacation by staff and students to relax and catch some sun rays.

When you do the math our children have 177 of no-school to catch up on their sleep.

For more information you are welcome to see the Ontario Ministry Education’s web site: www.edu.on.ca/eng/general/list/calendar/holidays.htm.;

Semestering is supposed to make it easier for students to learn with only four courses a day but the reality is that one doesn’t accomplish a year of studies in half the year In my opinion the youngsters fail faster, drop out quicker and learn less.

Interesting that Central Secondary School students do quite well with the two day cycle where students juggle four courses a day for the whole school year.

We have implemented the Applied/ College level courses for too many students who could do very well with the Academic/University Level Program if they but tried; it is supposed to be easier for the students. Too few post secondary options are open to them.

Schools/parents/teachers/students can set their expectations low or high. I thoroughly believe that the children will live up to the hopes and reasonable aspirations set for them.

We can have them sleep in later and not be involved in more rigorous studies or we can try and encourage them to achieve and be themselves but be their best selves. Making things easier for our students is not in their long term best interest.

School boards should look at the long term future of the students. The trustees have to weigh the pros and cons of their actions. Student success comes about with good ability which most of our students have along with a good work ethic. Getting to bed earlier at 10 and sleeping in till 6.30 gives the youngsters eight and one half hours of sleep is good training for the future.

The vast majority of hard working Londoners who are most fortunate to have a fulfilling career are most happy to go to work every day regardless of the time limitations. Successful employers/ employees, are not constrained by the time of the day that they work.

Perhaps it is time that we remember the old English proverb: “Early to bed early to rise makes a man healthy and wise.” For many years the schools have pretended to teach good values and the students have pretended to learn. How about we increase the hours spent in school and emphasize learning for excellence.

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com