In Defense of 1,200 Seconds


Graphic by Alex Greene and Alex Zuckerman

Sophia Hampton, A&E Editor

At 8:22 am on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, I can usually be found walking down the hallway to my next class, counting on receiving a good 20 minutes of Communication Time before I actually have to put my brain into full gear.

If it’s Tuesday or Thursday, there’s a good chance we will watch Good Morning Staples. If it’s a Wednesday, perhaps my class will convince the teacher to let us wander down to the cafeteria for a mid-morning snack. Maybe I’ll use the time to catch up on some missed homework. Or if I’m really tired, I might get a good power nap.

However, there are those times when my blissful 20 minutes is snatched away and thrown in a corner filled with broken dreams.

There have been times when I walked into a classroom and noticed that the projector wasn’t pulled down to watch Good Morning Staples. No students are laughing or chatting leisurely, and are instead, anxiously scribbling numbers onto their math worksheets.

It is not until the teacher actually places the handout on my desk that I reach the distressing realization that my teacher has chosen to ignore Communication Time and actually use the extra 20 minutes to do work. It’s almost laughable that the teacher thinks I can focus my attention for a full 80 minutes. I will spend most of the class distracted by watching the countdown on my MyStaples app slowly dwindle down to zero.

According to Principal John Dodig, teachers are not allowed to skip Communication Time unless they are running a Science class and need extra time to prepare for a lab.  Staples’ school curriculum does not have homeroom at the beginning of the day, so the extra 20 minutes is supposed to serve as time to communicate with your teacher or classmates about current events or even last week’s football game. It can also give students a chance to organize themselves for the day ahead.

These days, with all the media distractions and with the diagnosises of ADHD up 66% since 2000, it’s asking a lot to keep 25 students focused for over an hour. I couldn’t even write this article without stopping every few minutes to check my phone for text messages.

You might be reading this and think that I sound like a slacker trying to get out of class. However, the truth is, I happen to be an honors student, who loves school. It’s just that in today’s world where you are constantly bombarded with 20 second advertisements flashing between 30 minute TV shows, 4,800 seconds spent learning about “the rules of a semicolon” or quadratic formulas feel like an eternity.