Taking initiative with conflict calendars

Most of us have seen the bright white poster paper taped on that cabinet, window, or whiteboard. Some are filled with the tests, events and orals of busy students, while others remain blank, untouched, almost as if they’re just any other normal calendar. Conflict calendars are in almost every classroom at school. However, just because they’re there, doesn’t mean they’re actually being used for the purpose they’re meant to serve.

The problem is, from a survey of 59 students, only 30 percent write on conflict calendars. And 74 percent feel that they often have too many tests in one single day. This is a clear contradiction — we want conflict calendars to help us, but most of us don’t take action. We should personally take initiative to fully utilize conflict calendars. They exist for our benefit, and we need to willingly write on them. We may not see the importance of writing on conflict calendars, and choose to not take action. But that only perpetuates a cycle in which we harm ourselves by not taking advantage of the opportunity.

Conflict Calendars-1

Teachers in fact do sincerely want to help us, and do take into consideration the seven classes students are taking, the numerous activities students participate in and the big events that students want to go to. By using conflict calendars, teachers more clearly see the hectic schedules of the students, and find a better time to place their test or quiz so students aren’t completely overwhelmed. It’s up to us how we as students initiate the suggestion to our teachers, and take action. We can’t simply complain about busy schedules when we have opportunities to make a difference.

Biology teacher Pamela Chow frequently tries to use conflict calendars, and encourages her students to put their conflicts on there.

“I’ve told the students before that maybe there’s not going to be the best day ever to put a test on, but the conflict calendars do make everyone’s lives less stressful,” Chow said. “If I can put the test on a day where I can see that there is not already five other things, then why not?”

With the conflict calendars, we should have integrity, and should never abuse the conflict calendar. Conflict calendars allow us to use our best judgment to write down only what we feel like needs to be written down. Seventy-one percent of students agree that with both sides actively using the conflict calendar, it’s bound to reduce the stress they feel.

English teacher Shannon Hoopes recently got her conflict calendars and wants to start using it next unit, because she also believes it reduces stress among students and teachers.

“I think teachers should either use conflict calendars, or at least some other way to get feedback from their students,” Hoopes said. “Teachers could also assign a deadline for a project, but if students say that have a math test that day, then teachers should maybe be a little flexible about that due date.”

Conflict calendars may not seem that significant, but the truth is, they can play a very important role in reducing students’ stress, an especially big problem at MVHS, and allow students a chance to balance and manage their workload more effectively.

We can’t simply expect a teacher to take action and clear up our schedules — that needs to be recognized on our part, on taking initiative. Next time we see that large white calendar in our rooms, let’s remember that the low-effort act of writing on it significantly reduces our often high stress levels.

Co-reported with Emily Zhao 

Taking initiative with conflict calendars

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