As schools start to shift towards having finals before winter break, many new arguments are popping up in favor of the resolution. Often, I hear students at Berkeley High School complain about never getting the true break that they deserve, instead worrying about finals when they would be skiing in Tahoe. I respect the sentiment, but feel that it doesn’t encapsulate the students that need to extra time to study, and desperately want to boost their grade.
Adults always tell me that you don’t need to be genius to get a 4.0 — it’s all in the work ethic. For example, something I often hear is that: “Nobody is inherently ‘bad’ at math, people just need to find the right avenues for enjoying it and practicing it.”
While I agree with all rhetoric behind that statement, the only way it works is if we give students the time to demonstrate said work ethic, and reward them for doing so. Further, if they need more time to comprehend concepts in math while juggling extracurriculars, the world needs to give them that time. I can’t think of a better opportunity for this than winter break. Here students are taken out of the stressful 24/7 work week, and onto a much more self-paced playing field.
Every minute of winter break counts; if there is a class you have an 89 on, winter break is what enables you to get 95 on the final, and a ninety for the semester. Instant profit!
And of course, none of this is mandatory. Those who don’t want to study, don’t have to study! I look at winter break as nothing short of free extra credit, because you are doing something optional that will almost definitely boost your grade. It puts power out of the hands of the supergenius (who normally aces a BC Calc test, even if they take it after a coma) and into the hands of the aspiring student, who is willing to work hard in order to reap the benefits.
There is also a valuable life lesson to be learned this. Winter break studying, and the subsequent reward of an A, allows student to directly see a correlation between hard work and reward. Too often, students never see the light of their efforts, as school work is overwhelming, and no amount of studying can save them from the six tests teachers happen to give on the same week. Winter break helps reward student for their hard work; and they won’t fail to notice that, either.
A winter break before finals might give students the closure that they desire, but the education system shouldn’t seek to “give closure” because learning never really stops. Instead, education should be focused on serving stakeholders who are willing to put in the most work, and reap the greatest reward, no questions asked. Winter break has the capacity to be a great equalizer, and throwing the balance off of equilibrium is sure destroy some GPAs.