Examining the Usefulness of New Mandatory Tutorial

Emma Winton, Reporter

As the new semester of online learning began last month, Novato High introduced a version of office hours called Tutorial, which has led to many conflicting opinions among students and teachers. 

Tutorial is a new mandatory period in which students are required to check in with the classes they didn’t attend that day. Numerous students believe it’s a waste of time, as very few teachers actually use this period of time for instruction and classwork.

“I don’t think it helps academically,” said sophomore Cheyenne Vincent. “There is not enough time for each student to have their desired amount of time to ask for help.” 

Many agree with this statement, as some students see the usefulness of a separate check-in time. Sofia Casano spoke about the potential benefits of tutorial. 

“I think it gives teachers more time to teach their subject matter, and students more time to ask questions,” she said. 

Some students believe that we should return to the schedule of optional office hours. “Most of my teachers don’t really use it,” said Caitlin Bollman, a sophomore at Novato High. “I think it should just be optional for students who need help.”

I agree wholeheartedly with this opinion. Many NHS students dread that afternoon time when we return to class for the mandatory check-in. Often, the teachers who do use it don’t even use the full time, so students are stuck waiting to go to their next class.

Sophomore Tyson Schnasse described how unproductive tutorial has been for him. 

“If making everyone attend tutorial is an attempt at making kids who need help not feel alienated, then I get it, but I still don’t agree with it. However, that is likely not the case,” he said. “The fact that I’m writing this during tutorial sort of proves my point. I am currently sitting here, doing my best to retain something from this tutorial, but I’ve gotten so bored because nothing applies to me that I’ve begun drawing monkeys.” 

Like Schnasse, many students believe they could do something better with their time.

Creative Writing teacher Rebecca Pollack discussed how she feels about the tutorial time. 

The short check-ins we were doing at the beginning of tutorial time could have been just as easily accomplished through a post in Google Classroom with reminders for the day,” she said.

I think most would agree.

On the other hand, English teacher Michael Taber feels that tutorial is useful for his class. 

“For a subject like English, there’s so much supplemental content to share, and tutorial is a great time for extra lessons and explanations,” he said.

When asked about how he would improve the tutorial time, Novato High student Theo Hayes said, “just get rid of it, or make it not mandatory.” 

If administration believes that having a tutorial is necessary, it should be scheduled directly after our second class of the day. That way, students and staff get it out of the way, and then they can move on with their days and make plans as they please.