Hey! Teachers! Leave Them Kids Alone!

October 27, 2008
By Sasha Manevich, Brooklyn, NY

Summer is the season between June, July, and August. However, we students have a different understanding of this word; to us it means freedom and tranquility. Since the start of my freshman year in high school, I’ve been required to complete a summer reading assignment – the cause of teenagers’ worries during their time off; this completely defeats the purpose of summer vacation.

A student’s biggest intention in the summer is to do as little work as possible. During the year we are expected to fulfill such a large amount of work that causes us to feel distressed; it is as if we are crawling towards the light at the end of the tunnel, our two months off. During the year our main concern is acing that exam, finishing that project on time, and completing that load of homework teachers assign. The summer reading assignments are described mostly as a requirement to read a book (not chosen by the student) and then we are forced to analyze it. The assignment becomes another burden put on students for their longed time off. Teachers as well have a work load. It is their job to mark all of these tests and projects, and they also must check homework to ensure that their students are up-to-date with the assignments.
The summer reading assignments are a huge disappointment; the one thing we look forward to all year now recreates the feeling anxiety that we try to avoid. Both teachers and students work hard during the school year and they clearly deserve to have an edgy-free vacation.

My summer includes travelling, partying, shopping, and tanning; school work is definitely not included. The summer reading assignments are surely not what I have in mind and I often leave them until either the day before or, at most, a week before school opens. People do have other things to do aside from school work. Some of us students attend summer camps and others get jobs or genuinely are looking to have a good time with their friends. Teachers themselves deserve to have a time without a chalk board and a desk, and they do.

Summer assignments are meant to keep the students in tact with even a little bit of their knowledge during their “snooze and cruise” months. However, since most teenagers dread summer assignments, they look for the one easy way out: Sparknotes or Cliffnotes. These websites require about a page of reading as opposed to an infinite number. As much as the Department of Education stresses the immoral aspects of plagiarism, most of us walk that dark path anyway. Many students find reading enjoyable but when forced to read a book, they seem to lose interest.
Why not just allow us to choose books of our own genres and styles? If the concern of the Department of Education is that students do not read enough, why don’t they take into account the fact that maybe these books are simply not of interest to us? The summer reading assignments are not being taken seriously. In fact, we just want to get it over with; it doesn’t play as an advancement of knowledge in the end.

As Pink Floyd says “We don’t need no though control.” Teachers, go enjoy the stress-free summer you have ahead of you, but let us do the same. Let our worries begin only when September comes along. Quite honestly, what summer means to you means the same to us. Give us a chance to replenish our minds.

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This article has 1 comment.

on Dec. 8 2008 at 10:12 pm
We-ell. Amazing article. And I love that song- Another brick in the Wall by Pink Floyd. You have inspired me to listen to it.

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