History teacher Ryan Dean speaks at a senior class meeting in May 2017. Photo by Pete Zivkov.
By Connor Van Ligten
Class meetings have been a staple at Menlo ever since I arrived as a freshman. These meetings help to get individual grades caught up on important, upcoming events, and they are often heavily conducted by students themselves. For most grades, these meetings often deal with matters pertaining to their respective class, rather than the broad content covered by assemblies, giving them a personal touch.
However, as the years have gone by, my feelings on class meetings have progressively worsened, and what used to be an important time to check in on the upcoming days has started to feel more and more like a chore.
To clarify, I don’t think class meetings should be removed. I still believe they are an important part of the Menlo experience by keeping students up to date on information. In my experience however, parts of class meetings often feel like a waste of time. During some class meetings last year, our class would have to participate in extraneous activities like meditation or watching TED talks, some of which we had already seen, when the bulk of the announcements were done.
While these activities aren’t inherently bad, in the context of a long Menlo school day it feels like unnecessary padding since most students would rather just leave and do school work once announcements are done.
I also think that class meetings should be mostly run by students rather than the class dean. During my time at Menlo, some of the student presentations during class meetings have been extremely entertaining and powerful, and I believe the time during class meetings should be more for the students than the teachers. These moments tend to grab the audience’s attention more than announcements from teachers or class deans.
Ultimately, I think class meetings should have a place at Menlo. Currently, I feel there is much room for improvement, whether it be better usage of time or more student-driven content. If these changes were implemented, perhaps class meetings would be welcomed instead of dismissed as a boring distraction.