Core Subject Trimester Gaps Stumps Students and Teachers

Photo credits: Wavebreak Media LTD

Wavebreak Media LTD

Photo credits: Wavebreak Media LTD

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Many students have to deal with the problem of having a trimester gap in-between A and B classes. For harder classes like languages or mathematics, students often forget skills and information.

“It’s a delicate balance between not boring returning students, but making sure new students can catch up,” said English and Expository Reading and Writing Courses (ERWC) teacher, Tiara Johnson, expressing her own difficulties as a teacher when it comes to students having trimester gaps.

A trimester is short, spanning about 12-13 weeks. When teachers have to spend the first week refreshing concepts and skills, instruction time is lost. For harder classes, students have a difficult time retaining information over a gap, especially when focusing on other subjects.

For Johnson and many other teachers, it’s hard knowing what students are comprehending the material versus those who are struggling. To combat this, she reviews general topics, main concepts, and common terms that are used within the subject. Fortunately, for some subjects like Expository Reading and Writing Courses (EWRC), reviewing and spending time on the same skills are important, especially if they are used throughout the entire course.

The school administration is aware of this issue and teachers have been adamant about the problem. It’s a heavy struggle for the school’s administration because so many kids are taking a majority of their classes on a trimester system and unfortunately, the school is overcrowded. Johnson stated that this year, more students have been scheduled to take A and B classes without gaps, or have been able to keep the same teachers throughout the school year.

For students like Lhoerenz Jhan Azaula (grade 12), reviewing material and asking teachers for help is a must. Azaula has experienced a trimester gap in Physics and Psychology. Since Physics is a harder subject with more concepts to remember, Azaula had a difficult time getting back on track. He recommends that students ask teachers for assistance. Teachers can help students recover by preparing necessary review material. Azaula hopes that counselors will be able to prioritize schedules to have A and B classes be adjacent.

Another student with the same problem, Fatima Maciel (grade 12), struggled freshman year with Algebra 1. It resulted in her failing the second half of the course and retaking it her sophomore year. Soon after that issue, Maciel began taking three trimester courses to avoid having gaps in between. To combat falling behind, she takes very thorough notes in the first half of the course and looks over it before the second half begins. It’s tedious for many students to constantly keep a check on notes, but Maciel confirms that this method has helped her greatly. She suggests for students to not be afraid to ask questions, no matter how simple the concept may be. Often students are afraid to ask questions, thinking that they are the only ones who don’t understand, when in truth, several other kids are thinking the same thing. By asking, other kids may have their questions answered as well.

Even with this ongoing issue, students have many chances to catch up and improve with the help of after-school tutoring, Wednesday Tutoring, and our supportive teachers. The administration is working their hardest, and hopefully will be able to resolve this problem in the school years to come.