What Are Office Hours in Middle and High Schools?

Office Hours refer to a set period of time that one or more students can meet with a teacher. They may meet one on one, or in small groups. This is very common at colleges and universities, but now many schools are using office hours in middle school and high school as well. Office Hours give students the opportunity to get extra help on assignments, emotional support, or just chat with their teachers.

Why Consider Office Hours?

Students are all at different places in their learning. Some need extra help, some need targeted interventions, and really all need social-emotional supports, enrichment, and opportunities to build relationships with their teachers. Having a scheduled, set time during the school day, like office hours, can allow you, as an educator, to meet with students for these purposes.

In fact, office hours could be compared to a flex period or flex block, a time schools set aside during the school day for students to get what they need. Teachers need time, students need time. Office hours can provide that.

When so much of school is happening remotely, it’s more important than ever for students and teachers to stay connected and build relationships. Virtual office hours, using a meeting platform like Zoom or Google Meet, are an effective way to make sure students are getting what they need, and have face-to-face communication with their teachers.

Effective Virtual Office Hours for your Middle and High School Students

It’s one thing to set up office hours when you know you will be meeting with your students in person. It’s another thing when you’re in a hybrid or completely remote setting. It may be hard to get students to show up, or for them to know when these office hours will be taking place. What can make office hours more effective?

  • Have a consistent way to notify students about when your office hours will be taking place
  • Give them an idea of what office hours will be like, and reasons why it could help them
  • Schedule students for office hours according to their needs and interests

How Office Hours Fit into a Flexible, Hybrid Schedule

Many schools have opted for a hybrid schedule this year. Can office hours fit in to this kind of schedule? They can, and there are examples of schools that have created a time period for office hours right in their schedule, so all teachers and students know that they will occur at the same time on the same days each week. You can see an example from one high school below.

Having a flexible schedule that adapts to student needs, and changing circumstances, is more important than ever. And when it comes to flexible schedules, there are a lot of things to consider. How can you move to a more flexible school schedule? Check out the resources below.

To give students the time they need, you also need a schedule that works.
Here are some resources we can share.

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