By Nasheetah Hossain
Junior Sara Blumkin begins her day at 5:00 a.m. by jumping into the pool for swim practice. After attending six periods at school and after school practice for the school’s Speech and Debate team, she reaches home at 9:00 p.m. where she spends a very short time with her family. Then, she starts her two to three hours of homework at 10:00 p.m.
While Blumkin is certainly not the average student with her multiple extracurriculars, many students feel similarly overscheduled making it unavoidable to be physically and emotionally exhausted. This year, the leadership team completed a survey of over 60 percent of the student body on the subject of homework. In the survey, 41 percent of the students said they have two to four hours of homework per night. The majority reported spending less than an hour with their friends of family.
In addition, more than 96 percent of students said that most of their nightly work is comprised of different types of exercises and worksheets, with an addition of almost as much time spent on different assignments like tests/quizzes, and extended assignments like essays and projects.
“Teachers often schedule tests on the same days, leaving students with the stress of having to study for multiple classes on one night,” junior Nafina Raha said.
While homework is meant to enhance the skills a student is acquiring in class, too much of it can actually be counterproductive. For many of our classes, most work is just worksheets primarily graded upon completion; hence the students focus on turning in material which they do not even truly retain. Essentially, more homework means more stress, not more learning.
According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), teenagers need about eight to ten hours of sleep per night. In the school’s survey, 63 percent of students reported getting less than 7 hours of sleep.
“I want more time for meditation and seeing my friends. Also, some sleep would be nice,” Blumkin said.
According to another study carried out by NSF, lack of sleep has pressing consequences on the teenage body. From skin problems, aggressive behavior, and poor memory to the development of reliance on alcohol and drugs, lack of sleep can deteriorate the current and future states of their lives.
When 61 percent of a student body comes together to say that they are almost always stressed, it is no question that a change has to be made.
Teachers need to reconsider the purpose of homework. Homework should be to reinforce what is learned in class, not just to keep students busy. Teachers need to think about the everyday stress that students experience, when considering whether or not to give homework. An effective learning environment relies upon mutual understanding. Students need to acknowledge when homework is useful and teachers need to acknowledge when it is not.
“An ignorance to the situations of each student results in miscommunication and hinders them from performing as well as they potentially could,” Raha said.