No, Breaks Shouldn’t Be Longer and Less Frequent

By Mia White (II), Contributing Writer

Breaks from school are a universal joy that every student looks forward to. These periods provide a chance to step back from work and, more importantly, to cherish time with family and friends. Fortunately, the current Boston Public Schools schedule, which allots one-week breaks every few months, gives students perfect opportunities to do so.

While many private schools offer a two-week vacation in March and two-week break in December, it is by no means a superior model. Shorter, more frequent breaks are more beneficial to students’ success because they lack the downsides of lost learning time, high stress and disruption to extracurricular activities.

As students prepare for a long break, such as the winter holidays, their anticipation is reflected in the days before. It is difficult to focus and retain the lessons their teachers give as their attention spans slowly wane, so teachers often spend additional time going over content.

While on break, students’ schedules are very different from the ones they abide by upon returning to school. As a result, the first few days after break are spent readjusting to their regular routines rather than learning, and students lose valuable learning time.

With a shorter break, however, students are motivated to accomplish much more. Sadie Bornhorst (III) states, “After coming back from [shorter breaks], getting back to school is not very difficult because I know that I will have a short week and or an upcoming break.” If students have something short but sweet to look forward to, they will make the most of the time that they have in between.

Getting rid of one-week breaks in February and April, especially in the absence of long weekends, would feel monotonous and exhausting. Before having days off, BLS students would be subject to the stress of two important testing periods over the winter marking period: midyears and Term III midterms. Having time to reset is essential for students to avoid burnout. It also ensures that, when they return to school, they will be in a fresh mindset to learn.

Aside from academics, longer breaks would also affect students involved in sports and other extracurricular activities. Bornhorst remarks, “During the winter season, my coach would always schedule practices and games over breaks, other than holidays, and in the spring I would have two practices a day.” In the case of one-week breaks, taking a week off of practice is not nearly as disruptive as two weeks would be and it gives athletes more opportunity to spend time with family and friends.