Office Hours: A Time for Learning and Growth

Will Y., Staff Writer

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Photo by Will Y. A packed office hours in a math classroom.

If you visit Westminster after school, you may be puzzled to see numerous students remaining in classrooms, learning long after school officially ends at 2:45 p.m.

These studious pupils are attending Office Hours, an opportunity to work on homework, study, or ask questions they did not get to in class. Office Hours lasts for 45 minutes, between 2:45 and 3:30, and is offered Monday through Thursday.

Students go to Office Hours for different reasons. Seventh grade boy Church S. said, “I go to English because that’s my worst grade.”

Office Hours offers a unique opportunity for students to interact with their teachers outside of class. Ellery M., a seventh grade girl, said, “Office Hours is a good time to get one on one time with teachers.”

Jack S., a sixth grade boy agrees, saying, “Without Office Hours, students would be clueless if they couldn’t understand the subject during class time. They would have to schedule a meeting with the teacher.”

According to a survey of middle school students, 86 percent of those who responded go to Office Hours to complete homework. Around 69 percent attend in order to ask a teacher a question, and 65 percent go to make up tests or quizzes.

Gary Brown, a mathematics teacher, said, “Most students come to me the day before a test. In my opinion, the biggest value of Office Hours is for students to get a head start on homework.”

Some attend Office Hours because they are required to by their teacher. This may happen after they do poorly on a test or quiz, or if their average slips too much.

The teacher helps the student get back on track during required Office Hours. Out of the students surveyed, around 36 percent have been to required Office Hours before.

Office Hours attendance is high, with 54 percent going three or more times a week.

The subject students go to the most seems to be math, with around 70 percent. This is followed by foreign language classes, which 11 percent say they go to most frequently.

Student’s views on Office Hours are largely positive. Out of all students surveyed, 92 percent of those who responded agree or strongly agree that Office Hours are beneficial to students.

Another option for students during this time is to go to the library, which provides a quiet place to study and do work, free from most distractions. However, the survey shows that most students prefer going to a teacher’s Office Hours instead; only around 15 percent go to the library.

Sometimes, fitting Office Hours into students’ schedules is difficult. Many attend clubs or have sports practices that may cut into Office Hours. Eighth grade girl Elizabeth L. said: “I only go to Office Hours if I don’t have sports practice that day. If I really have to go, I will get a note.”

A note excuses student-athletes from the part of practice they need to miss.

Mr. Brown expressed his discontent with the fact that student-athletes have to decide between practice and Office Hours in the first place. As Elizabeth mentioned, this presents a challenge for many students.

For most students, Office Hours provides an amazing opportunity for further learning that may not be possible in the class time and helps to promote a vibrant community of people who not only learn, but are enthusiastic about it.

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