Changing Traditions for the Better

November 2, 2017
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“They say taking part in extracurricular activities can help kids do better in class by improving their participation and concentration skills. A 2008 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that time spent in extracurricular physical activity does not take away from elementary school students' ability to do well in the classroom. In fact, it may even help boost girls' academic performance.”


In addition, teens are known to love sports, art, music, and also participate in them. However, these extracurricular activities can be interrupted by school. Because of this issue that effects many teens, teachers should limit homework to little or none because homework interrupts extracurricular activities, raises the stress level of students, and it makes students focus more on grades rather than learning.


High school is like a small world filled with various amounts of talent. All of these talents were developed because of the extracurricular activities schools provide students to take. For example, when I was little I was influenced by family members that I would play volleyball in high school. When I got to high school, I realized I didn’t enjoy volleyball whatsoever, and reached out to other sports, discovering softball; I fell in love. These extracurricular activities are very important to students because it is an outlet to stress, which is usually caused by school and the absurd amounts of homework and projects. Teachers assign homework without thinking about the amount of classes a student has. Additionally, a student in high school usually has six core classes and two extracurricular, depending on their credits and other circumstances. With that being said, those classes can also be AP and/or Pre-AP, which are college classes/excelled classes. Let’s say there is a student who is in sports and choir, who is also in two AP classes and all Pre-AP classes. That student now has four assignments from excelled classes and two assignments from college classes, almost nightly. Along with this, the student also has to practice sports and his/her music for choir. But, having something to do that you love, allows someone to forget about the stress and do something they are passionate about. Extracurricular activities helps students become more social, because when you join a group with the same interests, you make new friends. Also, a person could find life-long friends due to the fact that they both are passionate about the same thing. Most importantly, extracurricular activities helps shape a young adult into who the person they will soon become later on in life. Being a teenager in high school is the most confusing time for a person, but with the help of a passion and groups of friends to guide you, it is easier. Homework interrupts all of this, and it holds a student back from growing and achieving great things.
Although I know that most teachers and adults on the opposing side will say that homework is a necessity for a student to develop and learn and also that it is a tradition, I argue that it is not because rather than helping a student grow, it holds them down. I know that teachers think that it is impossible for them to their jobs if they do not assign homework, but I believe that if teachers focused more on teaching the material, the students would be prepared for every test, because they would have more time to study and sleep, with homework out of the way.
Furthermore, teenagers in high school are known to have bags under their eyes from exhaustion, and coffee in their hand to keep them going throughout an eight hour school day. In addition, they are known for staying up late at night, which often rolls into the next early morning. When teachers assign homework, most students have no time to spend time with their families or friends. For example, “on Saturdays and Sundays, I did not have the luxury of hanging out with my friends. Only very rarely was I able to do so. Most of the time, I was on the floor from morning to afternoon solving this and that, writing this and that, and answering this and that. I spent my weekends as if I were still in a classroom, except that I was alone and there was no teacher,” says Joemar L. Furigay from a news article. Furigay also stated at the end of his article, “So let us leave students free to explore new things in life by not giving assignments. Let them rest and relax at home. Let them enjoy being young. Students spend half of their lives in school. Let us not add to their burden.” This shows how students shouldn’t have homework, because it causes unnecessary stress.


Every high school student dreams of graduation day from the first day of their freshman year, because that means they are soon to be on their way to college. Students often get obsessed with the idea of their “GPA”, or their grade point average. I spoke to my mother; a woman who has two degrees and three consistent jobs as a nurse, paralegal, and a first responder. My mother told me that her experience with high school was a “train wreck”. She obsessed with her “GPA and just wanted to be perfect in the college’s eyes”. Towards her senior year, she explained “I let go of my obsession of being perfect to get into college and stressing over all of my homework and projects, and I realized I had to actually have fun and enjoy high school for a second, or else all of that hard work and struggle wouldn’t be worth it.” She went on to get her nursing degree, and worked ten years in the medical field. Ever since she received that first degree, she admitted “I knew my journey was in my hands. That’s why I never settled down in my career, I always want to be able to learn something new.” Even with getting bad grades on homework and projects because she wanted to live her life to the fullest capacity at that age, my mother went on to be a very successful woman. This interview with my mother intensifies the idea that students do not need to focus on grades, rather than learning.


Inevitably, high school won’t be perfect, it should be memorable and a milestone in a person’s life. Someone will not remember a test they failed, or a test they aced. They will remember the friends, the teachers that could impact the rest of their lives, and they will remember the fun they had. Teachers nowadays should limit the homework they give to little or none, because homework interrupts extracurricular activities, raises the stress level of students, and it makes students focus more on their grades rather than learning. High school should be a period of a person’s life that they remember forever, and having homework that puts you under extreme amounts of stress is not how you want to remember it.


 






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