• Jennifer Smith

Friday Afternoons Must Go

Photo Credit: Randy Tarampi on Unsplash

I am sitting here on Friday afternoon right now wishing for the day to end. I have a long to-do list of items I would like to cross off my list before I leave school for the weekend. Yet at this point in the week, I have very little energy or inspiration to accomplish any tasks. Instead, I stare out my window, and I am debating walking down the hall to stir up some conversation with colleagues.

Friday afternoons are tough for everyone. We are all just itching for the weekend to begin, yet stuck in an office or school trying to remain focused on the tasks at hand. Students, especially, struggle with Friday afternoons. Can you imagine having to sit in a classroom at 2:00 on a Friday listening to your math teacher drone on about equations? Or, taking a grammar test?

Why are we putting ourselves and children through this torture? Why not reconsider our Friday afternoons? Why not reimagine what an inspiring Friday afternoon might look like? Let’s not remain stale and old-fashioned in our traditional schedule mode just because we are “supposed” to keep kids reined in until the weekend begins at 3:00. Let’s imagine what our afternoons could be instead of following what we think our weekends “should” be.

I teach social studies to middle schoolers. What if I took Friday afternoons to allow students to dive into old pictures or diary entries? Students could explore the past and write their own journal entries or take pictures of their daily life around school. Or, what if I provided students with the opportunity to explore any country or city in the world. They could use Google Earth to travel around the world, or they could visit museums in virtual tours.

Or, what if we just allowed students to take control of their own learning on Friday afternoons? What if students spent the afternoon reading, researching, collaborating, or innovating? On their own, students may choose to create something to improve the school. Or, maybe they would collaborate and initiate a community service project. Students might create and perform a song or establish a slam poetry club. A photo club might emerge. Maybe some would start a business making skateboards in the school's makerspace. Who knows what being on the verge of the weekend might inspire?

What, you think I am naive? You think students would only spend the time watching TikTok, YouTube, or playing video games? I disagree. Today’s kids are more creative and curious than you may think. They want to be involved, explore the world, and make changes. With a little guidance and inspiration, Friday afternoons could become a springboard for real .

I vote for Fun Fridays. How about you?

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