Teachers recall hectic school day before block scheduling

Caitlyn Lofland, Features Editor

Twenty-one years ago, the school day at Glenbrook North was an entirely different experience than it is today. Classes were 45 minutes long, with the exception of science classes which lasted 60 minutes. Students went to every class, every day.

Prior to 1999, GBN operated on a flexible modular schedule. Under this schedule, the day was divided into 15 minute mods, and most classes lasted either three or four mods. There were 28 mods every day, unlike the schedule GBN uses now, which consists of four blocks every day that last 90 minutes.

Social studies teacher James Hoover was a student at GBN during the switch to the block schedule. He said that with the mod system, there were bells ringing constantly, indicating the start of a new mod. Students did not get 90 minutes of student resource time (SRT) but instead, they would sometimes have 15 or 30 minutes off between classes.

“It was hard under the mod system if you didn’t have a study hall to make up tests,” Hoover said.

According to social studies teacher Jeff Kallay, when GBN switched to the block schedule, it was an exciting time for the teachers. He said they were challenged with the task of redesigning everything they did in the classroom since their classes were twice as long.

Kallay said he truly appreciated the block schedule after getting to use 90 minutes to lead a class discussion, an opportunity he never had until 1999.

“I realized finally that for the first time in 11 years of teaching, the kids had actually finished the discussion and come to a consensus as a class,” said Kallay. “It had never happened 10 years prior to that. We always went right up to the bell and I would be screaming at them as they walked out the door to try to remember where we were.”

According to Hoover, the day became a lot calmer for the students when they only had half of their classes per day, as the students only needed half of their books and classes did not feel as rushed.

“Of all the changes in my career of education, the block had the biggest impact on the day-to-day wellbeing of everybody in the building,” said Kallay. “The vibe of the building changed dramatically. I think it’s one of the most successful changes we’ve had.”