Oh, D.E.A.R.! Students, staff at odds about how to use time

Aislin Devaney, Watertown Splash staff

A popular discussion currently in the Watertown Middle School is D.E.A.R. If you are someone outside of the school system, D.E.A.R (which stands for “Drop Everything And Read”), lasts for 20 minutes on Mondays and Wednesdays. Some people hate it, some love it, and some don’t care about it.

Whether you’re on one side or the other, many agree that some things may need to change.

The subject has been debated more since Student Council sent out a survey via email to the entire school asking for opinions on D.E.A.R. It included whether you liked it and, if you didn’t like it, what the school could do with that time. 

D.E.A.R. is nice to have, but I think everyone would benefit from having time to do their homework.

— CICILY LANGDON, WMS seventh-grader

One of the most popular ideas was study hall. Many kids are for study hall, while a lot of teachers are against it. A big argument from students is lots of kids don’t read during D.E.A.R and instead wander around “looking” for a book.

“D.E.A.R should be turned into study hall, but still be quiet, so you have the option of either doing your work or reading,” said one student, who wished to remain anonymous.

Out of 12 students interviewed by the Watertown Splash, nine of them said they would rather have something in the place of D.E.A.R. Some students are also on the fence about the two.

Cicily Langdon of the seventh grade said, “D.E.A.R. is nice to have, but I think everyone would benefit from having time to do their homework.”

Another popular opinion was voiced by seventh-grader Rebecca Hughes: “People have sports after school and, with the new time change, there is less time to do homework and spend time with family and friends.”

On the other hand, teachers and faculty have different opinions. Jason DelPorto, the school’s vice principal, said, “We want to figure out how to get kids more engaged and actually reading because right now about 50 percent of kids just sit there and look at their books.”

Out of three teachers interviewed for this story, two of them strongly support D.E.A.R while the other didn’t mind either structure, as long as students have the option to read.

–Feb. 12, 2019–