By Katherine Guest—
Somewhere in an NJCU classroom, parched students are sitting through a grueling three hour class, eagerly eyeing the clock for a break.
It never came.
Students have often complained about professors relinquishing their ten minute break between two hour and 50 minute classes, others favored leaving class early.
“I rather professors let us out early then have a 10 minute break, because I’ve been late to my next class on multiple occasions,” said Steve Statten, 32, Special Education and English major from Jersey City.
“Getting out early from class would work. Students shouldn’t complain about a break—the less break the better because they can get out of class early,” said Gabriela Maza, 22, Computer Information System major from Jersey City.
NJCU’s courses vary from 50 minute sessions to two hour and 50 minutes, some extending up to six hours. Professors are liable for the proper amount of contact hours, classroom hours per course, in a semester.
“My English class on Saturdays consists of six hours and every 50 minutes we take a 15 minute break,” explained Mariam Beshay, 21, chemistry major from Jersey City.
Students are required to have at least a 10 minute break during three hour courses. During four hour and lab courses, the mental rest time is extended.
“Usually what happens, especially night classes, at the break I let students decide either to stay until the end (while taking a short break mid-class) or leave 10-15 minutes earlier. It’s up to their discretion. Either way, it’s balanced,” said adjunct Professor George Papcun, from the Geoscience department.
Night class students predominantly prefer leaving class early while afternoon and morning students rather have a mind refresher at the one hour and thirty minute brink.
Laura Odoms, 30, Science and Media major from Jersey City thinks that, “It’s more convenient to go straight through the curriculum. It all depends on the professor and the lecture. I’ve experienced that night class students prefer to go home early compared to a day time class.”
Hurricane Sandy forced NJCU to cancel classes for an entire week due to a power outage. Because of Jersey City’s curfew, night classes were canceled until November 6, 2012. On November 8, 2012 the campus underwent another black-out period which affected several professors’ fall semester curriculum, but before Sandy there have been incidents of professor’s careless endeavors.
“I am aware of professors who will sometimes forgo the break. I don’t like that way. The attention span starts to wane. I feel like it’s a better environment when taking a break in the middle. Even I need a break. I’m a better professor after being revitalized for a few minutes,” said History adjunct professor Girard Malloy.
“Because of Hurricane Sandy, I’ve made up for the missed class hours. For example, next week is the final. I would normally dismiss the class after the students have finished, but I’ve planned to use the entire class period.”
Michael Ghaly, 22, Computer Science, from Bayonne, said, “I’ve experienced something like that with most of my professors. I started in 2008 and my professors wouldn’t give a break. The discussions would go over three hours and forget to give the break they should. It didn’t bother me because it wasn’t a boring discussion.”
While there weren’t any grand complaints about not having a break, there were students who protested the idea of a complaint.
“Students complaining about a 10 minute break are ridiculous. NJCU is not a lenient community college. They have a reason to complain, but this shouldn’t be an issue, we’re adults. We’re here to learn,” said Willie Washington, 57, Accounting major from Maplewood. “If you need a break that bad then get up and take a break.”
Marilyn Loaces, 32, Early Childhood and Psychology Special Education major from Union City reiterated Washington and thought that, “We’re here to learn. We’re here for education.”
Low subtle chants of “Who needs a break?” came from Laurenda Reynolds, 45, Sociology Special Education major from Newark, on her way back to class.