What if school were open from 5am to midnight? That is, what if school was open for 19 hours a day? Well, anytime I have brought that up, people in education have dozens of reasons why it can’t be. Anything from those hours are not humane to it’s just not possible. None of the answers have ever sounded convincing. What’s more is that everyone is looking at it from the perspective of his or her own lives, not the people schools serve. Most of the reasons I have heard have to do with not wanting to work longer hours, there’s not enough in the budget, or there just aren’t enough people.
I beg to differ though. I think everyone is reading into the question the wrong way. When people talk about extending the school day, it’s often to extend classes, make them longer, extending the teacher work day, or adding more class time. But that isn’t the only way to design a 19-hour school day. When I was in 7th grade, my dad enrolled me in a martial arts school. I went to about one class a day that ran about 60-90 minutes. I absolutely loved it. As the weeks went on, I started showing up a little earlier to warm up on my own and practice. I would then stay a little later so that I could get in a little extra practice time. Then one day I finally decided to ask the instructor (owner) if I could come in during non-class times to practice. And what he told me I would never forget. He said I am a student at his school and this is now my school. I am not just welcome for class, but at anytime. As long as the doors are open, I am welcome to come by, practice, talk to him, or just hang out. Essentially, he said this was my second home and I should feel welcome. So I did just that, I started showing up anytime I wanted. On days off from school I spent several hours there practicing, talking to Master Lee, and reading the martial arts magazines. It was pretty awesome! Continue reading