Grade 10 Lit students work outside in the nice weather of Quadmester One
The 4hr Stretch (of Sitting) By Galadriel Bond
Mr. Blauer's outdoor office
Two students wake up in the morning for vastly different school days. One gets up and is out of the house in time to catch the bus to school. The other scrolls through YouTube until just before class starts, where they hop onto the Google Meet. They are in the same class, one in jeans the other in pajamas. Tomorrow, they will swap places.
The quadmester system is a series of four periods where students swap between two classes on a weekly basis. To further limit student exposure, they are divided into two cohorts, coming to school on alternating days for in-person learning. The daily schedule for those in class is a four hour period of instruction time. Depending on the teacher and subject matter, those at home are either listening over the Google Meet or given busy work and other projects to accomplish.
This four hour period of non-stop instruction time is not well liked by Jason Steed, a Canterbury Grade 10 student. “I hate it with everything in me. It’s just... it’s not pleasant.”
Arushi Dutta, a student in the Merivale IB program, isn't a fan either. “It’s really long," Arushi said. "Especially when it’s the same person talking, and it’s in the dark, and you can't get out of your seat. I take bathroom breaks just to walk around the school, because I get too sleepy in the class.”
Even Amina Adams, one of the language teachers at Canterbury, was struck by how long class time would be. “I also worry about there not being enough time to practice certain skills, or to ‘savour’ and ‘digest’ some learning outcomes," she said.
Some of the students shared similar concerns. When Arushi was asked about how she felt about the condensed learning strategy she said: “For some courses it’s hard, especially some content based courses, it’s hard to memorize everything. Then what happens is you don’t end up doing as much because, you know, the teacher physically can’t teach you that much in that short period of time.”
Jason had a similar experience in how he was expected to “understand everything and know everything in three days. And then write the test on the fourth day.”
Inversely, Alex Calvin-Proulx, a grade 10 in Canterbury's dance program, likes how in the quadmester system there are only two classes that he needs to focus on.
At least teachers bring their students outside for walks around the building to stretch out their legs and get some fresh air. The twenty-odd minutes outside is a welcome reprise from the four hour long period sat behind a desk.