BARSTOW - Starting Monday, area students will have to start waking up early again.

More than 9,200 students in the Barstow and Silver Valley schools will return to class on Jan 7. after a two week winter break. School officials say that coming back from vacation sometimes takes some getting used to for students.

Mark Nair, a ninth and 10th grade science teacher at Barstow High School, said that the break can be a challenge for students readjusting to the material they were learning before the holidays.

"You disrupt the repetition needed to learn difficult subjects," he said. "It's certainly balanced because when they come back, they're refreshed. The wise teacher eases into it."
He said that in some aspects students are more prepared to learn after the holidays.

"There's a saying among teachers that `students don't learn anything after Christmas break'," he said. "But what I believe is really true is that there is a maturing process that takes place during the first semester, and students are more ready to learn during the second half of the year."

He said that to help students adjust, he and fellow teachers focus on reviewing material taught before the holiday and wait before immediately introducing new topics.

School officials said that the breaks are the right length, short enough to allow students and teachers to be refreshed, but not so long that they forget their lessons.

Scott Sypkens, assistant superintendent for educational services for the Silver Valley schools, said that after a few days students get back into the swing of things.

"I think for the most part it's a smooth transition," he said. "The challenge we find is the few days before break."

For James O'Neal Jr., 13, an eighth grader at Barstow Junior High School, he doesn't think he'll have problems focusing in class, though he wishes vacations were a little longer.

"No, school's not that hard," he said.

O'Neal's father, James O'Neal Sr., said that although students may seem reluctant about returning, he thinks most of them like being in class.

"Whether they know it or not, they enjoy going back to school," he said. "It gives them something to do. It gives them structure."

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