Teachers Ease Students Into In-Person Classes with Breaks


Grace Franklin

Walks outside in the fresh air can help clear the minds of stressed students.

The return to campus has reminded many students of how long the 90 minute class periods can feel. From online school, where students could tune into class for short periods of time from the comfort of home, to being stuck sitting in a tiny plastic chair for 90 straight minutes in a stale classroom is a large (and unpleasant) shift for most. Some teachers are understanding of this extreme change and allow students to take breaks on the longer days, so students can go outside, take off their masks if they want, and have a moment to chat with friends.

Junior Mia Jiang has a few teachers that take their classes on walks. “I personally enjoy taking walks during block days of school, just because I feel like it’s good to refresh your brain. And also I feel like when you go on a walk, you get outside and you [can] chill out for a little bit and then you can go back in and it’s like you have a new start,” said Jiang.

AP U.S. History (APUSH) teacher assistant senior Adriana Colon has observed the rejuvenation of students after taking a walk mid-period.

Colon said, “I think it’s a really great way to get outside and get your blood flowing a little bit more, because you’ve been sitting down and I can understand, especially with a content heavy class like APUSH, that it can be kind of tedious to do a lot of work and sit there and use your brain for that many minutes for such a long amount of time.”

Some teachers, such as English teacher Thomas Duffy, opt for yoga as a class break. “I think, given the 90 minute block period, it’s good to move our bodies [and] get a bit of fresh air, it makes us more able to do school effectively,” Duffy said. “[In my class,] we do a little bit of breathing and yoga at the beginning of class every day, and then we usually go for our walk at some point during the second half [of the period]… during every block period we’ll go for a walk.”

Other teachers give mask and water breaks outside the classroom. Colon said, “Sometimes teachers will just give us a five minute break to stretch or stand up or [get some] water…I think it would make everybody learn a little bit easier, but I can also understand the potential for more distraction.”

Colon encourages all teachers to give class breaks, “if they have time…especially for a dense AP class. I understand that time is really important, but so is making sure that we can actually understand the info[rmation] and have it sink in and not be too jittery or waiting to go to the bathroom or something like that.”

Jiang added, “I feel like it helps you [if you] go on walks halfway through, and I feel like it’s really helpful because you like taking all this information, you go on a walk and then it relaxes you and then you can do it again, so I think it’s good for hard classes because… it’s a good break.”