What's a Typical Day, Chris?

In many ways, a typical day at SIL is a misnomer from the very start.  Students set parameters for their class schedules to allow for participation in extracurriculars, accommodate travel schedules, and to suit their work habits.  Nor are schedules set in stone for the year with student commitments changing and the recurring schedule changing with them.  To get a better idea of the student experience, we asked a few students to share their take on SIL scheduling and the "typical day".

First up: Chris, Class of 2016

"I am not a morning person, so my first class is generally at 11am.  Lately, I have been coming in at 10am in order to fit in more classes, but I still take the mornings slow and only get up 20 minutes before class.  After two classes in the morning I will have an hour break when I can take a lunch.  If I have a lot of work I spend the time studying, otherwise I might get in a few games of ping pong with other students hanging around or teachers with an hour free.

In the afternoon, I will have a third and sometimes fourth class depending on the day.  When I am done for the day, I spend some time in the study hall doing homework and studying for tests or else working on a Rubik's cube.  After classes in the afternoon is also an excellent time to take tests, especially as I can spend whatever time I need beforehand on review so that I feel prepared.

Last year, in addition to my SIL courses, I was taking classes at Foothill Community College, dancing ballet, and teaching an introductory coding class for kids in Santa Clara (www.teendevcamp.com).  I took three classes at Foothill during the school year, CS 1A - 1C.  They are all Java courses.  Two were in the evenings so I could head over after a day at SIL, but one was right in the middle of the day.  It was easy to adjust my SIL class schedule for that term so that I would leave in the middle of the day for a longer period and then come back to finish up with another class time.  I didn't love going back and forth, but the Foothill class times were set and it allowed me to fit in everything I wanted to do while still not having to get up before 10am.

On the days when I was teaching, I would leave earlier than usual and organized things so that I wouldn't take tests on those days.  Over the summer, I taught a more intensive coding class, but I still continued with some of my SIL courses.  I would have one day for my classes each week and still be able to come in for exams so that I could keep up progress in my courses.

Even though I chose to continue with classes through the summer rather than taking a long break, it was easy to rearrange my schedule as needed.  When I went to Tahoe for a ballet competition or when I had a performance, I just cancelled classes for those days and then picked right back up.

The flexibility to start classes at anytime is useful overall.  Last year, I finished my math course when the calendar was about 70% through what would be the traditional school year.  I simply began my AP Calculus BC class right then.  Being able to continue on to the next course and work on my classes through the summer helps take some of the pressure off my senior year schedule, especially with college applications in the fall.

The class schedule like course instruction and content is oriented to the student.  If you want to get work done quickly, you can do it, but you have to take initiative.  There isn't someone who is going to show up and force you to do something right now.  But, everything assigned is interesting and truly develops your understanding; you'll never have busy work.  You go at your pace.  If you want you can do what Cooper did when he completed his full year of Bio in something like three months, but it is really up to you.  Finishing classes comes down to the work you put into it.