The Life of High School Students

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It’s already eight o’clock. Brandon has just come home from his after- school job at Dunkin Donuts. Right before that was two straight hours of rigorous football practice with the school team. Brandon played well, but the strict coach yelled at him for being late. The drama club ended at 5:30, and Brandon couldn’t have made it on time. After a toilsome day of taking tests, wrestling a football from his aggressive teammates, and then wiping tables, Brandon is toiled beyond exhaustion. And he still has two long chapters of English reading and fifteen pages of advanced placement US History reading. He would tackle these right after he finishes studying for a calculus test and completes a physics worksheet. Brandon can just hope that he doesn’t pass out trying to finish his school work.
Brandon’s everyday life probably represents the life of many high school students. A lot of teenagers today spend about seven or more hours in school, only to spend hours more in exhausting after- school activities. From school work to after- school activities to more school work, high school students lives’ are only a little less brutal than those of factory workers during the Industrial Revolution: toiling throughout the day and half of the night, through three- fourths of the earth’s rotation. As a result, many teenagers manage only 6 hours of sleep a night, when research shows that adolescents going through puberty need 8 ½ to 9 hours of sleep. Teenagers are sleep- deprived, and parents are wondering why their children are doing so poorly in tests. Why, it’s a wonder how some students even find time to prepare well for examinations. Still, many parents complain about their children, assigning overwhelming responsibility at home without taking into account the heavy homework load students are given. These parents must think high school students just go by in school, sitting lazily in their desks and ignoring the teacher’s blabbing while they doodle in their notebooks. But no; a lot of students I know actually care about their academic performance. Many of them don’t have the time to lie around and watch television for an hour. They can’t even afford a thirty- minute nap. High school students, like other normal humans, need a vacation from school from time to time in order to enjoy other things in their lives, but some of these things are sacrificed in attempt to succeed in school. But despite all of their efforts to excel, high school students hear sermons every night from their parents when they come home. “How are you going to get into college with this test grade?” a parent might ask. It’s as if parents think they’re the only ones with problems and continue to ignore what their children are going through.
Teachers, on the other hand, probably understand high school students more than their parents do, seeing what these teenagers go through every single day. However, they seem to approach the problem in the wrong way. They continue to assign tons of homework, believing that more homework would give students more practice on certain subject areas to help them retain information more effectively. However, heavy homework load, instead of helping students, only discourages students and seeps out their interest in learning. In fact, statistics show that heavy homework rarely has a positive effect on education. A 2005 article from physorg.com, titled “Too Much Homework Can Be Counterproductive,” claims that countries as Japan and Denmark, with teachers assigning relatively little homework, have students scoring higher in standardized tests than their counterparts in other countries, with schools giving much more homework. Why is this the case? Shouldn’t educators by now be realizing that intense homework load is not the answer to academic problems, and that the solution to their problem lies in another much more effective method, waiting for them to be discovered?
I have read many works from high school students, expressing their grievances towards school, towards parents, and towards life itself. If what they are saying is true, then high school students are indeed under overly stressful conditions. We really need to change our attitudes towards teenagers, knowing what many of them are going through. We must show understanding and care, and we must help them succeed instead of threatening them to do well. Starting right now, there should be some kind of change- whether at home, at school, or anywhere else. Teachers, find ways to make learning in school more effective in order to lessen the need for homework. And parents, the best thing you can do is show your children that you love and care for them. If we are not willing to change, then teenagers would one day grow up to become a society of depressed, weary people, finding no purpose in life and living merely to survive day by day, as they had experienced in their high school career.





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