The classrooms and hallways of Ann Richards are busy and bustling. Students discuss tests and projects, the few days left in the school year are written on countless classroom boards, and everyone is trying to figure out exactly what grade they need to get on their final exam to pass the class. High school students are under a huge weight of stress and are powering through the pressure, trying desperately to make it out the other side with passing grades.
School is a stressful journey and final exams are one big part of that. Students spend hours each night going over each class, highlighting notes, reviewing tests, trying – and failing – to not procrastinate while still taking tests and completing regular homework assignments. That’s why Dead Week is so important to the students. It gives us a chance to focus on one thing – finals. We have no worry about learning more things, or homework assignments, or tests, it’s just review.
“It helps me review, especially the things I didn’t really understand or didn’t really stick with me. Give me a study guide that helps me, not one that probably has a bunch of things that aren’t even going to be on the test,” Halie Cruz (9) said.
Dead Week is not a “slack-off” week, but it shouldn’t be a learning week either. This is the week to get study guides, take the Kahoot games this school and its students are so fond of and make sure students are prepared for their many finals. Whether the final is an actual test or a project, the stress and the pressure are the same. Each class has their own unique way to test skill, but whatever teachers chose, they still need to give students the information and material to help them be successful in their exams.
At Ann Richards, the most popular ways students study is to quiz each other or themselves and go over notes and tests. Teachers recommend redoing old problems, taken from old homework problems and tests, from scratch.
Having a clear communication with students is also vital to helping students do well. It’s important for teachers to aid students by guiding them and helping them be prepared for the type of questions that will be on the exam. Teachers should tell students what is going to be on the exam and give them the materials to review those topics, or at least show them where they can find them. Students are trying to make it through the year, and teachers should help them remember the details of the past semester. Students are not robots, they don’t memorize everything and it stays in their brain forever. Which is why students need a week like Dead Week. It allows them to remember and become more knowledgeable in certain lessons- and maybe relearn a topic if it didn’t stick the first time around.
“I’m all about transparency. I don’t want to surprise students on a test. I want to test them on what they know and I want them to know the format and what to expect,” Ms. Liz Schnautz, ARS Spanish teacher, said. “There is no surprise, so they know exactly what to expect and they can prepare better for it.”
Dead Week is a crucial step on the path to success for students and honoring it in the most helpful way possible is the best thing teachers can do. While students may seem tired, we appreciate the support and study guides – it truly makes a difference, I promise.