Office Hours: Practical Idea, Poor Execution


Rissa Liu

Students in Ms. Lenert’s classroom completing homework during office hours.

Bella Duong, Staff Writer

*The opinions expressed within the content are solely the author’s and do not reflect the opinions and beliefs of the website or its affiliates.*

The new Office Hours schedule has become a major point of controversy among students and staff members at UHS, dividing the community on the role of the periods and how they would best be implemented. The new bell schedule created changes in Office Hours times that now take place only on Thursdays and Fridays for 55 and 40 minutes respectively. Office Hours has been a time to ask teachers questions, retake tests and quizzes or even simply study and complete work, but with the new schedule, students have these structured opportunities just two days each week.

This current Office Hours schedule is not enough time for students to complete work and seek the necessary assistance to supplement their learning. If given the opportunity, Office Hours can aid students in building productivity and organization. It can also facilitate relationships with teachers and build communication skills for students. As such, having Office Hours more frequently will help students to become more successful and better prepared.

Students have been discussing the Office Hours schedule, reporting that it’s been difficult to switch between classes with campus security and teachers enforcing one to stay in a singular class, and with most finding the given amount of time insufficient for the tasks they need to complete during Office Hours. 

Sophomore Isabella Veravanich offered her view on the Office Hours periods and highlighted how exams and projects appear more intimidating under the new schedule.

“Although I understand the potential benefits of having solely two days of long office hours, the lack of one-on-one opportunities that I have encountered as a result has greatly increased my uncertainties and doubts when trying to understand a topic in class,” Veravanich said. “Because I don’t get this opportunity until the end of the week, it feels as if the next period exams or projects coming up are much more daunting without regular visitations to my teachers’ classrooms.” 

Individual meeting times with teachers like Office Hours are an important part of a student’s learning process. Students who miss days of school can utilize such periods to make up work, as advised by many teachers, but with Office Hours only twice a week, students would take longer to do so, especially if they have make-up work for multiple classes.

The lack of Office Hours can be found particularly troubling to students that take sports or extracurricular activities outside of school. A busy schedule is already overwhelming for students and commonly causes missing work in classes. Without the proper amount of time to make up work, this can become a common occurrence, thus creating an endless cycle of incomplete work and disorganization. Some students will find it challenging to break out of this cycle, which may be reflected in their poor grades.

Additionally, the removal of Office Hours on Tuesdays and Wednesdays made class periods longer, which some argue is beneficial for both students and teachers, as teachers can give students more information during these longer lectures. However, studies suggest that students are only able to focus for a short amount of time before becoming distracted. A study conducted by research psychologist Dr. Larry Rosen revealed that young individuals may find it difficult to study for even just 15 minutes at a time. Applied to the current bell schedule, this would mean students lose concentration around six times during their class period and cannot process as much information in a longer class period compared to a shorter one.

In order to provide students with the sufficient amount of preparation they need for their classes, Office Hours should be incorporated back into Tuesdays and Wednesdays. This way, students will have more opportunities to attend any class that they might need in order to catch up and complete work. During lectures, it is difficult for teachers to find the time to engage with each student. Office Hours provide the unique opportunity for teachers to get to know their students’ individual problems, thus allowing them to better support their students. 

Re-establishing Office Hours into Tuesday and Wednesday schedules will be better for both teachers and students in the long run. Communication with teachers is a significant part of the academic process and, accordingly, should be prioritized over longer classes. Bringing back the Office Hours schedule will create more productive and responsible students at UHS.