Every student knows the horror of final tests, projects, and midnight cram studies. Every teacher knows the pain of grading and juggling their work and personal lives. Now, because of Buffalo High School’s switch to trimesters with an added 5th hour, students and teachers alike are starting to feel the pressure.
Students and teachers are experimenting on how to find the perfect balance after fifth hour got added, switching to 63 minutes per hour compared to the previous year’s 80 minute block. With 20 less minutes, an extra class and up to 40 more students, teachers feel less than prepared.
“There’s an adjustment,” said Social Studies teacher Todd Manninen. “The block was nice for those 80 minute periods. I think we’re still learning a little bit about how to use 60 minutes. Is it an extra day or do kids have to do more at home? That’s something that I’m still figuring out at least.”
Making big decisions and even sacrifices is something teachers and students are very familiar with this year. Students, juniors and seniors specifically, have had to reevaluate their schedules and drop classes they had planned to take.
“For me, there’ve been some negatives,” said Manninen. “As a parent, I think my son is limited in his ability to take and try electives. My daughter was able to experience the best of high school and still got a year of college done. I think it’s gonna be really hard for my son – for kids – to get anything like that.”
Students especially are feeling the pressure when it comes to finding the time to complete their work and get the help they need. Some students with tough schedules find themselves with five long classes full of work and homework to complete, with minimal help from busy teachers.
“I think [the trimester schedule] is the stupidest thing in the world and quarters worked so much better,” Annika Decker ‘25 said. “There was more time in each [quarter] class. With the added hour, there’s less time for lessons and so much more work. Because we added a new class there’s not enough time to connect with your teachers, I haven’t felt that bond with teachers like I have my past two years.”
As the 2023-24 school year goes on, teachers and students are working to find the best of both worlds from the quarter and trimester system. “I don’t think there’s a perfect [schedule],” said Manninen. “I don’t think there’s a perfect system, in regards to quarters and trimesters they all have their warts.”