The Homework Surplus

Finnley Brakke

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Last week, I had a huge world map project, a short story, a digital poster, a research organizer, and a math test to study for all within five days of each other, and that’s not counting my regular homework.

Our teachers encourage us to learn and grow as people outside of school. We’re told to maintain social lives, be physically active, participate in extracurricular activities, keep a reasonable sleep schedule, and maintain good grades.

We’re taught in health class that, as teenagers, we need eight to ten hours of sleep to function properly and at full productivity. Well rested kids perform better in school, maintaining focus and achieving better grades. Of the twenty-five Tallwood freshman I surveyed, twenty-three said they get less than eight hours of sleep on an average weeknight. Twelve of them get five hours or less.

Obviously something is wrong with this picture. Granted, time management is essential to balancing all of these activities, but as students we can only be expected to do so much.

We cannot honestly be expected to complete six hours worth of homework in one night, which is what the stacking of some of our assignments require. We are forced to chose between homework and sleep, and the choice made varies greatly amongst us. It’s unfair to put this much pressure on fourteen and fifteen year olds.

Each of our assignments on their own isn’t the problem; it’s having four to five big projects assigned at once that creates trouble. Most teachers give these projects around the same time, and they pile up in a daunting way that makes it impossible to complete them all.

One suggestion I would make to better lessen the degree to which we’re drowned by our work would be to bring all the teachers together to map out when projects will be assigned. Granted, it would be a little more work on the teachers’ parts, but it would be greatly appreciated by the students. As a plus for teachers, the projects we submit will be better quality, because students will have time to focus on these assignments individually, rather than rushing through each one on a hectic weekend.

If the Freshman class teachers were to share their schedules with one another, it may be possible to plan the larger projected around one another. A few may overlap occasionally, but that would still be a great improvement over the current situation.

Even a few days between due dates can make a huge difference to students, and will greatly improve the quality of work, which will in turn raise our grades.

It’s understandable that a schedule like this one may be difficult to make in the first quarter, because the curriculum is just beginning and teachers have to cram a few summative grades in before the end of the first quarter. However, after the first quarter, I see no reason why staggering these large projects shouldn’t at least be attempted.

In turn, on the student’s part, we should all agree with our teachers that, if they give us this extra time, we will use it wisely and work hard on their assignments.

When students don’t get enough sleep at night, the problem of students falling asleep in class becomes prominent. Of fourteen Tallwood freshman, half said they had fallen asleep in class at least once this year because they were so tired. This takes away from the teacher’s teaching time and the students learning time, and can affect the whole class. When a teacher has to stop the lesson to wake up a sleeping student, everything stops, and that poor student completely missed out on everything that happened after they passed out, all because we’re exhausted as a student body.

Imagine the improved grades, focus, and attentiveness in class, in school, and in our lives in general if we were all to get at least eight hours of sleep every night. To do so would benefit everyone, and it’s a goal we should be working hard to achieve by at least attempting a program like this to lessen the amount of homework students have per night.

If students use the time their teachers would now give them wisely, and it has been properly given to them, then they should be able to maintain social lives, and a regular sleep schedule. This would make not only make students all around healthier, but would also improve their ability to focus in each class. Well focused students are more productive and retain more information, which means better scores on tests and quizzes, which equivalates to improved grades, reflecting well on teachers and our school.

To make it through this year, teachers and students will need to develop a balanced give and take relationship when it comes to homework, and attempting this staggered schedule may be the first step to achieving the balance.

Below are the stories featured in Volume 3, Issue 3 of The Roaring Gazette.

Students will soon need fewer SOLs to graduate by Aniyah Lewis

2018 Leadership Workshop coming soon! by Cassidy O’Neal

Marching Lions receive a Superior rating by Sotiria Bessinas

The Great Tallwood Divide: Has the academy split Tallwood in two? by Noelani Stachurski

Meet a Lion: Mrs. Yuzhbabenko by Chris Purkiss

Lion Voices: What would you change about Tallwood? by Frances Summers

Teachers’ homework policies vary by Frances Summers

CIEE offers great travel opportunities for students by Bethany Hansel

Ms. Adams is here for all your school store needs by Ashley Archila-Ventura

The homework surplus by Finley Brakke

Virginia schools must aim to teach ALL students by Marissa Goodall

“Jigsaw” a disapointing entry in the “Saw” series by Ashley Malinson

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