A World Away and Worlds Apart
By MARIA GRAFAS
Jericho Middle School students recently completed their second month of school while students attending middle school in Búzios, Brazil are already halfway to summer. I got to know a student from Buzios and learned what an average middle school day is like for students in another part of the world.
Eighth grader Bruna C. who attends Nicomedes Theotonio Vieira School explained, “On Monday we have mathematics, history, and Portuguese. On Tuesday we have science, geography, and mathematics again.” The classes are one hour and 40 minutes in length. Unlike schedules in Jericho, middle school schedules in Búzios are constantly changing every day. Bruna doesn’t like this because it makes it extremely difficult to memorize. The curriculum at Bruna’s school is also quite different from Jericho’s, “During middle school, we have the same classes every year; it just gets harder and harder. It’s not like we have Algebra one year and Geometry in an other, we have Algebra and Geometry every year and it just gets harder.”
For middle school students in Búzios, school starts at 1:00 p.m. and ends at around 6:20 p.m. “The younger people study in the morning and the older students study in the afternoon,” Bruna said. This arrangement is true of most public schools in Brazil. Bruna also mentioned that like most other students in her town, she walks to school. “We study at schools that are near our houses,” Bruna said. At Nicomedes Theotonio Vieira, there are no school buses, which is the case for many schools in Búzios. Instead they use vans similar to those utilized in Jericho.
In Jericho Middle School, 8th grade student, Michael P. said that his schedule is quite the opposite. Instead of his classes changing every day, his schedule stays constant throughout the year, except for some of his elective classes which take place every other day. Unlike the curriculum in Brazil, Jericho students take different courses each year. “In the middle school each year in math, you would go from Algebra, to Geometry, to Algebra II, to Calculus, and it would just go on and get harder and harder” because the math is more complex, explained Michael. School starts at 7:31 in the morning and ends at 2:03 in the afternoon. Michael takes the bus every morning and said, “I do like the times that I start and end school. I don’t like how it starts early, but I like how it ends early.”