With Carlmont High School’s shift into a new distance learning schedule for the school year, students and teachers are accustoming themselves to a new aspect of the schedule: teacher office hours.
The implementation of teacher office hours provides students with the closest substitution to after-school help one might go in for during on-campus learning.
Schools worked collaboratively to create the schedule in order to maintain consistency across the district. The current setup of teacher office hours was modeled off the “flex time” schedule piloted last school year.
“The purpose is for students to get extra help from teachers. This could be clarifying assignments, asking specific questions related to the content, or this could be the extra time students might need for assessments or assignments,” Principal Ralph Crame wrote in an email interview.
According to Crame, most teachers favor the current scheduling of office hours as they can “connect with students in a smaller setting and not in the middle of class.”
Georgie Rauls, a sophomore at Carlmont High School, voiced her thoughts on office hours in an interview.
“I usually ask my classmates if I have questions about assignments, so I don’t really think I need to go to office hours. If I do have an urgent question I’ll go to office hours… I would say they’re a good resource,” Rauls said.
Although Rauls has attended office hours before, she also explained why she believes others are less inclined to attend.
“People are sitting in front of their computers all day in front of Zoom for classes. Maybe they don’t want to take the extra step to get help,” Rauls said.
On the flip side, many students drop into Robert Tsuchiyama’s office hours for after-school help. His office hours often go over time due to the sheer number of questions he receives.
“I have regulars. They come in every single day,” said Tsuchiyama. “It’s supposed to end at 3:10, but a lot of times, it goes to 4 o’clock or until the questions stop.”
Tsuchiyama teaches precalculus honors and algebra II/trig. He receives students from various grade levels, mostly ranging from freshmen to juniors.
Office hours are intended to be a space for students to receive additional help from teachers comfortably. However, a one-on-one learning session comes off as a tense situation for many students.
“I hate going to office hours because it’s so awkward, and whenever I have to make up a quiz I get really nervous,” said sophomore Lotus Tang.
Addison Gaitán, who teaches AVID II, English I, and AS English I, acknowledges the uneasiness some students may feel.
“I kind of get it; it can be a little intimidating to show up and be one-on-one with a teacher. It is a little bit prohibitive for students,” Gaitán said.
There are no plans to change any aspect of Carlmont office hours for the year.
Teacher office hours have also helped establish a stronger connection between students and teachers outside of zoom classes. As students are muted throughout most classes, office hours allow students to freely discuss with their teachers without the worry of disrupting other classmates.
“My office hour students were the first ones I got to know. It’s so hard to get to know the students because we just see these tiny little faces,” Tsuchiyama said.