Zero period: should it be an option?
October 10, 2017
Early bird gets the worm
At Charter Oak High School, students are given the option of taking a zero period, which allows students to take more classes or get out of school earlier. The benefits and reasons to take a zero period certainly outweigh the negatives.
Zero period begins at 7:00 am and ends at 7:55 am. Many students have to arrive before to get to school before the first bell rings at 6:55 am. Zero period is very similar to first period; there is only an hour difference. Students have a choice to get out after fifth period if they are freshmen or sophomores, and fourth period if they are juniors or seniors.
Students, who choose the path of honors and IB, have to take a zero period to fit in all the classes they want. Sabrina Rodriguez, freshman, said, “I selected a lot of classes, and [chose] to take three electives as well as honors.” She is taking Spanish, ASB and Honors World History this year for her electives.
While many might choose to skip breakfast or choose something fast to eat rather than get up earlier to eat. There is also the option to stop before class to the outside cafeteria line to get your free breakfast. Even though it is early, breakfast is still served fifteen minutes before zero period begins.
Other students choose zero period because they are taking a sport and have to have it sixth period. All sports are in sixth period because that is when practices and games are held. Michael Wiard, sophomore, said, “I chose to take a zero period because I needed to free up my sixth to play baseball. I did not want to drop my elective.” A zero period allowed him to keep the classes he is currently taking. He manages his time so he can still be well rested.
While many reasons have to deal with academics, some students have to take zero period so that they can pick up their siblings after school, or go to work. There are quite a few seniors who have to help with their siblings so a zero period allows them to.
Other students just like the option of having free time after school. Nardin Henen, senior, said, “I take zero period so I have the rest of my day after school to do whatever I want, and the school should still keep it.” An hour or two can make the difference when an individual has errands to run or wants to finish homework.
Many students choose specific classes to take when registering at the end of the year, but they never know what period that class is till the day they get their schedule. For juniors and seniors, AP Statistics and ROP Intro to Emergency Medical Service has only one class period, which is zero. Whether students like it or not, they have to take zero period if they are committed to that class. So, students choose a zero period so that their schedule will not have mistakes on the first day of school.
Zero period should ultimately be kept part of the master schedule because it allows students to be able to do more and is overall helpful to them. Mrs. Susan Traudt said, “Students in my zero period class tend to be one of my more engaging classes.” According to Mrs. Traudt, students in her Biology class seem to be doing very well even early in the morning.
Zero period: Get rid of it
There has been talk of getting rid of zero period completely, and not just at CO. Although there will be some cons to this issue, there are many reasons to stop getting students up so early.
At CO, zero period requires students to get to be in class by 7 a.m. First period, however, starts at the much more decent time of 8 a.m. That would be an extra hour that students would be allowed to sleep in. Zero period is optional to every student, but most choose to take one because they want to get the extra credits. More people are starting to choose school over sleeping and that can lead to health issues in the future.
Megan Doan, sophomore, chose to have a zero period to get some of her elective credits out of the way and she said,“Personally, I don’t have many difficulties with a zero period because I’m a morning person, but I could see how it could affect other people. Zero period seems like it could lead to health problems later on in life, so I do not think CO should have a zero period.” Mrs. Lauren D’Agata, English teacher, agrees, “7 a.m. is an early time for both students and teachers to get up, and it could be unhealthy.”
Without a zero period, students would have the opportunity to rest for a longer period of time and not be as sleep deprived. To get a good night’s rest, teenagers need at least eight hours of sleep, but most of them are only averaging around seven. This leaves students not being able to work to their best ability because they either are too tired to pay attention during class, or are focusing so hard on not falling asleep that they are not able to listen to anything their teachers have to say.
Teenagers who drive to school are also at risk for falling asleep at the wheel, which could cause an accident that might injure or kill them. To prevent the feeling of sleepiness, some turn to drugs or, most commonly, caffeine. Caffeine is something that anyone could easily get addicted to and eventually begin to rely on it too much to stay awake. Sleep is very important, but most students do not see that.
Olivia Oracion, sophomore, has also chosen to take a zero period, and she does not regret her choice. She said, “The worst thing about zero period for me was getting up really early, but having a zero period can be beneficial for getting extra credits. I do not think that CO needs a zero period though.”
Although on Wednesday there is a late start day for all of the students, that is only one day out of the week that they are allowed to catch up on sleep, and one day is not enough. Homework could also be considered a factor in sleep deprivation, especially with zero period students whoe have classes 0-6. Instead of only havingto do homeowrk for six classes, there would be seven. Even if the extra class is an elective, there could still be homework for that class which could cause the student to lose additional sleep.
Also, many students stay up late studying for an important test decide to study rather than sleep, which is a big problem. Even though many people think so, school should never be put first if it risks an individual’s health.
Along with not getting enough sleep, students might skip meals to make time to have enough time to do their homework and wake up in the morning to get to zero period. When teenagers are in a rush, they often choose to either skip a meal or go for an unhealthy choice. If they sleep as long as possible, there is not really enough time to sit down and make a healthy meal, so the first instinct is to grab something that is quick and easy, and most likely unhealthy.
Without a zero period, students might get the opportunity to make something that is a lot better for them and could benefit their learning abilities later on in the day. Students could also get more needed sleep and come to school with a positive outlook on the day, instead of falling asleep in their classes. Teenagers might also be at a lesser risk of sleep deprivation and more serious diseases, but these risks may rise if a zero period is kept.