The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

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When the Clock Strikes Six

In hopes of alleviating any potentially overbearing influence that school had on both Hockaday students and faculty last year, the 6 p.m. email rule was implemented for the first time this school year. Now, teachers and students alike are no longer expected to read any email sent after 6 p.m. Gone are the evenings that were previously filled with extra assignments and the all-nighters due to last-minute miscommunication between partners—with the 6 p.m. rule in place, a standard has been established on Hockaday’s campus. According to Upper School Head John Ashton, the 6 p.m. rule is only one of the many needed solutions for the much-sought-after balance between work and play here at Hockaday. He chuckled as he described how rounds of uproarious applause were met with loud sighs of relief at that first faculty meeting in August.

He noted that this reaction was similar to that of the students who were informed of the change only one month later. It is this exact relief that he hoped to spread by setting forth this rule.

“Before, there was never really a separation between work and home,” Ashton explained. “Now, I can come home to have dinner without having to check my email or feeling like I’m not responding to someone.” He continued on to say, “and while I can and do work at home on my own time, I can delay my emails to send by 6:30 a.m. so I don’t feel like I’m inserting myself into their free time.”

Senior Class Parent Representative Kendall Wilson agreed. “As a former eighth-grade English teacher, I fully understand how hard teachers work.” She said that faculty members deserve to have time to themselves and their families. Wilson also believes that through this rule students might become better at practicing time management, and that the block scheduling system provides enough leeway for students to seek out help before a specific due date. Ultimately, she believes that students should not hold the expectation that their teachers should be an available resource to them at all hours of the day.

Junior Frances Burton brought up an important issue—what about the athletes? Athletes leave campus around the time the rule goes into effect, as do student trainers and people involved in musical productions. Burton, who starts her homework at around 7 p.m., says the rule “doesn’t leave people in [her] situation with many options,” a problem to which Ashton sees a simple solution.

“We have seen email as this communication that should elicit an immediate response,” he said. However, “many times, it is not the most appropriate tool to use.” According to Ashton, an urgent issue can be addressed through a phone call, text or in-person visit.

All in all, this rule is less of a rule and more of a guideline. Emails can still be sent or responded to after 6 p.m., the rule was created to alleviate the burden that students and faculty members have felt by having 24-hour access to email. Through Ashton’s eyes, Hockaday has taken a stride towards achieving a manageable balance between work and home.

– Hufsa Husain

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