Student trustees say block schedule workload can be hard to handle

The Sask Rivers Education Centre/ Daily Herald File Photo

The Saskatchewan Rivers Students for Change (SRSC) allows students to have a seat at the board table. At the school board’s regular meeting on Monday, Nov. 30 they welcomed a new trustee to the group and updated the board on how the block system is working.

Remotely, the board affirmed SRSC trustees Kelly Lam of Carlton, who is entering another term and Emily Zbaraschuk from Meath Park Public School, who is in her first term.

 “They had a great update both on the change to the constitution that they had proposed and also on the feedback around the high schools that are doing the block system,” director or education Robert Bratvold said.

“It’s practical and I appreciate it and I noted that they each of the student trustees brought a slightly different experience,”

The block system can be difficult because of workload, Lam said.

“The students at the SRSC wanted to ask the board’s advice as to how to approach teachers in our schools to let them know that we appreciate your efforts in teaching all of this course material in the shorter time. We understand it’s very hard to teach us as well. We want to figure out a way because sometimes the course load can be too much,” Lam said.

Lam shared some common experiences from both Carlton and the SRSC students that the block system was cumbersome for work.

She explained that the pace is faster because of condensing five months into 17 weeks is a significant decrease in time. Lam likes to work in the block system because she works faster while others find it difficult.

“Something that we very consistently mentioned throughout our SRSC was the science and math classes have been extremely intense. From my personal experience, I took pre-calculus 30 in the first block and we were pretty much having a test every single day to get through all of the matters we need to get through,” Lam said.

As well she has heard that science classes such as biology and physics are intense to get through source material.

“Something that could be related to that and possibly causing that issue is that some of the teachers, at least in Carlton, in my opinion, it feels like they are giving the same amount of homework even though we have a significant decrease in time to get all of that work done,” Lam said.

Zbaraschuk had a similar experience with other subjects.

 “I was just going to add that personally, for myself, since my school is on the block system the English and History classes were the ones where the workload was like semester condensed into it, math was as much as you would normally get,” Zbaraschuk said.

Bratvold noted that there was a slightly different experience for Zbaraschuk and Lam

He also explained that both students emphasized a tough workload and that teachers were also doing the best that they could with the new conditions.

During the meeting Bratvold appreciated hearing from the students’ perspective and observed that administration has heard similar things from principals. A number of trustees offered feedback on the matter.