Summer Assignments: unnecessary stress, or necessities for success?

March 7, 2010
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Persuasive Essay Writing
Summer Assignments: unnecessary stress, or necessities for success?


Just one more day, one more, until I was free. One more day of school and I could do what I want, not having the heavy burden of school resting on my shoulders. Waking up was easy that day, because although I had finals, I knew that the half day would drift past eventually, and I’d be finished for three months. Finished with the constant pileups of homework that I, in quite a few instances, found myself trudging through. Finished with checking with teachers to make sure I didn’t forget about any missing assignments which are slowly throwing my 4.0 GPA down the drain. Finished with the daily trials and tribulations of school, and the need for a defibrillator to wake me up and get me out of bed after the five slams of the sleep set button on the alarm blaring in my ear. After one day I would be free, and summer would be here. A time to relax, enjoy myself, do what I want, and most of all, time away from homework, something I want so badly to be away from. Unfortunately, the anticipation for summer had me caught up in all the good thoughts, which were drowned out, just with the thought of the homework assignments, no—MASSIVE homework assignments I was given and expected to complete over the summer. But now, surprisingly enough, I am not completely against this ‘summer work’, because I understand the reasons for it. And of course, you’ll always have that one teacher who constantly bogs you down with homework for the simple reason that when kids say they’re a failure, they get the sickly satisfaction that those kids are talking about failure…in HER class. But on the opposite end, summer assignments serve a purpose, in more ways than one.

Summer assignments, of course, aren’t particularly enjoyable, in most cases, but in my opinion, I would argue for summer assignments, under certain circumstances, however. I believe that summer work is a great way for students to prepare for the upcoming school curriculum, and also, to give them a feel of what the course expectations will be. But in order to truly teach the student something, I believe these summer assignments shouldn’t be ones that students dread doing, just something semi-enjoyable, while educational and relevant at the same time. “Reviewing never hurt anyone” says Anastasia H., 13, in Houston Texas, “and even if it’s a lot, you can pace yourself, and it will pay off in the end” In her case, she probably hasn’t experienced the full effect of rigorous summer assignments, which, in my opinion are wrong to give, not only because they’re tedious and time-consuming, but with something so large and overwhelming, students can’t help but avoid them and put them off until absolutely possible; giving them no benefit in the assignment to begin with. And although I feel that summer assignments are necessary in most cases, I don’t think they should be something that students procrastinate about; they should be something they do when they have some spare time now and then to keep their mind fresh. A recent poll, taken on edutopia.org, a recently created website that allows users to debate on modern school/educational topics, shows that approximately 50 percent of students and parents support summer assignments, and after reading their reviews, its mainly for the reason that it’s a good way to get a jumpstart into the year. This, to me, brings about an interesting point and makes me think, do I really want to listen to the week long lectures in the first week of school describing curriculum and things we will eventually do? I know I don’t. And studies show that without any mind-freshening work given over the summer, students forget virtually everything that wasn’t directly planted in their brain in the previous year. Arne Duncan, an educational secretary, in the article “Summer School for Everyone?” states “Our children aren’t working in the fields anymore.” He implies that American students today should have a more rigorous curriculum, and the fact is mentioned that other well-developed countries, namely those in Asia and Europe, are putting kids under higher standards in education, and all I can address regarding this is, who’s making the majority of the technological advancements today? And studies show, the answer to that question is, indeed, the students put under high expectations and who are given more work as a 6th grader than the average American junior in High School. On a recently conducted study on a survey site, Shirley Hobson, a parent, and grandparent speaks about what she thinks about summer assignments. “I don’t see anything wrong with structural summer homework. It gives kids responsibility along with time for fun afterwards. It gives them something beneficial to do when none of their friends are home.” She continues about how it should be educational and fun at the same time, and whether it’s a light or heavy assignment, she implies, it should have relevance to the upcoming year.

But as important as it is to address my augment, I can name many people, almost every student I know, to be exact, who would say that summer assignments are a ‘waste of time’ or ‘the downfall to every summer’. A student, whose name remains anonymous, says “summer assignments are meant to keep kids on the ball, even during summer, but the whole point is for them to learn something and I don’t think any learning is getting done in the last week of summer after they’ve procrastinated until it was time they had to do it...” And as this is true, my argument is not to assign homework over summer with rigorous and time consuming tasks, it is to simply prepare students for what is to come, and from personal experiences I can say that even though I didn’t enjoy them, a few in particular have really helped me in getting ready for the course expectations, in AP biology, for example. “Children are denied ‘consolidation’ time” says a parent of a high schooler in the article in TIME Magazine “No more teachers, lots of books”, consolidation time meaning time away from the books, teachers, and demanding curriculum. So, as these arguments have proven to be very effective, and students and parents are constantly jumping on board the anti-summer-work bandwagon, it’s important that we think of the future: how the extra book over the summer, or the math packet, or the essay question, and how they can serve as a benefit for students in learning early and having an idea of the curriculum, and avoiding the week of useless talk in the beginning of the new school year that puts us all to sleep. A recent campaign here in the U.S., eyeing the idea of a ‘5th quarter’ in the school year is being launched currently, but with many speculations (in other words, less summer, more school). This, I believe is unnecessary and will raise more controversy than its worth, but the point being, for students to gain a sense of responsibility and making their years of high school count toward getting them the proper education for the ever-changing future, because after all, we are the future of this country, and as extra work may sound stressful and unneeded now, we will surely need what we have from our early years when we are the middle aged workers of America, and when constant advancements are being made, we can be the ones making them, and interpreting them.

So, in conclusion, I’d like to offer my opinion to any student, or teacher out there, in hopes that you, if you are a student, will tell your teacher your own view on the subject, and if you agree with me, let them know that it should be fun, yet educational. And for teachers, I hope that if you were thinking about killing students with 6 book reports and 2 written essays over summer, think again, because newsflash!, students are going to do it the last night of summer anyway. Give them something they won’t be stressed about, but something that is a good way to get a fresh jump into the new year.





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