The Student-Run Newspaper of Townsend Harris High School at Queens College

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The Student-Run Newspaper of Townsend Harris High School at Queens College

The Classic

The Student-Run Newspaper of Townsend Harris High School at Queens College

The Classic

Opinion: Institute a Tech-free Tuesday tradition in classrooms to detox from an overreliance on classroom technology

Tech-free Tuesdays can provide some much needed relaxation in the school environment
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Tech-free Tuesdays can provide some much needed relaxation in the school environment
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It is no secret that the environment of Townsend Harris High School can be stressful at times, with Harrisites having numerous weekly assignments, college-level coursework, and assessments (despite the testing schedule). Students and staff at THHS have commitments outside of school, such as extracurriculars and family responsibilities, not to mention the immense amount of work that needs to be done and graded. 

We all need a little break. 

Luckily, the THHS Guidance Team has come to the rescue. Every Monday, the Guidance Team facilitates Mindful Monday sessions during morning announcements. 

Additionally, social worker Alison Harris-Chauvet sends the student body “Wellness Wednesdays” tips and holds guided meditations, in the Zen Den during lunch bands every other Wednesday, to help relieve the stress that comes with THHS’ academically rigorous environment.

Personally, the introduction of mindfulness at THHS has provided me with a new outlook on life and guidelines on how to approach daily situations. The tips and breathing exercises provided help me to pause and make small, realistic goals, one step at a time. 

On January 10, Ms. Harris sent out an email detailing the “seven tips of wellness:” Soulful Sunday, Mindful Monday, Tech-free Tuesday, Physical Wellness Wednesday, Gratitude Thursday, Self-care Friday, and Social Saturday. I have been trying to incorporate these tips into my daily life and have noticed positive results. 

However, when reflecting on these tips, I realized that Tech-free Tuesday is a reality that has yet to manifest at THHS. I recognize that staying away from technology can be difficult. Social media, the news, checking digital calendars, and communicating online are some of the numerous reasons we use technology in our daily lives. Students use technology for schoolwork and teachers use it to teach lessons, enter grades, and create digital assignments. 

Technology is intricately woven into the fabric of our lives, so how can we simply stay away from it for a day every week?

In the short run, practicing Tech-free Tuesday in classrooms  might be challenging, but detoxing from technology has its benefits. Distancing ourselves from technology can allow us to fully embrace our current reality and become more aware of our surroundings, without having the urge to constantly be online. In school, this can allow students and educators to have direct communication, which can foster an environment of collaboration and conversation. 

However, I understand that practicing Tech-free Tuesday is easier said than done.. Some may argue that Tech-free Tuesday will cause more stress because it will cause a big change in our lives, as this practice may feel almost impossible in the short term. However, the transition to no technology every Tuesday can be taken one step at a time as students and teachers recognize the importance of less screen time. 

A simple change that could be made at THHS that will help make practicing Tech-free Tuesday more seamless is making sure all Tuesday work is to be completed without technology. During a testing week, teachers won’t face any difficulties since most assessments are on paper. Also, instead of assigning work through Google Classroom, assignments can be given on paper and handed in the next day or at the end of class. 

All-paper work on Tuesdays can even help better prepare students for standardized exams that are administered on paper, such as AP exams and the New York State regents tests. Increasing the amount of paper assignments will also help students further develop time management skills, and Tech-free Tuesday is a great method of achieving this. Rather than giving students until 11:59 PM, or any other time after school to submit work, if assignments are provided on paper, submissions will not be able to occur after class on the last day of a marking period, or when grades are due. This will create less pressure for teachers, as they will not have to enter as many last-minute grades due to late submissions.

Of course, the goal is not to eliminate technology use. Technology has indeed contributed to societal advancement in many ways. It allows people to maintain long-distance communication and complete tasks more efficiently. However, it doesn’t hurt to minimize technology use from time to time, especially with the benefits of refraining from overusing technology. Implementing Tech-free Tuesday at THHS will allow us to appreciate and be amazed by its positive effects. It’s just one day a week, but it can have tremendous impacts.

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