It's Time for High Schools to Make a Change
High school students are assigned, on average, 3.5 hours of homework per day or 17 hours per week. With sports, extracurriculars, and part-time jobs, students lack the time to do their homework and they certainly don’t have time for a social life. They go to school from 8 to 3, go to practice, if they play sports, from 3 to 6, come home, eat dinner, and shower.
By the time they complete their homework, they can finally go to bed around midnight. The average American teenager only gets 6.5 hours of sleep, but they should be getting 8.5 to 9 hours (Hard Lesson In Sleep for Teenagers). Homework and studying just does not fit into their strenuous and loaded-down schedules.
These overwhelmed and distraught teenagers are forced to juggle everything to impress selective colleges. As a result of this, they have no time to spend with their friends and family, and enjoy their last few years of adolescence. To solve this staggering problem that is affecting young adults around the nation, a free period needs to be given to every high school student. A free period is a period during school hours when a student has no class, and a student can do anything they want or need to do during this time. They could do homework, study, relax, mingle or possibly leave campus.
Some schools have already added free periods to the daily schedule and the healthier pace of the school day has helped solve some of the problems of the burdened teenager. Students could finish their homework, study, talk to their teachers and receive much-needed help during this period. Without this valuable time, they wouldn’t be able to receive help from their teachers at all. As a result of adding a free period to the day, test scores and grades would rise. These teenagers would now have time to study and review for tests. Without this free period, students would have had to stay up late to do the homework and studying or they would just not do it.
Since students could get most of their work done before school ended, they could use the rest of their time focusing on extracurriculars, sports, socializing, or just getting a healthy amount of sleep. Having more time to get their work done would help reduce the burden of teenagers. American teenagers are even more stressed than adults and the main cause is school, according to the American Psychological Association. “Teens across the USA are feeling high levels of stress that they say negatively affect every aspect of their lives, a new national survey suggests” writes Sharon Jayson, a writer for USA Today. Insomnia, anxiety, depression and suicide are all caused by this stress.
(Two Thirds Of Stressed Teens ‘Identify With Symptoms Of Eating Disorders And Depression’). If high schools would just add a free period to the day, the worry of students would be diminished and they would reduce the risk of mental disorders and suicide among teenagers. Some argue the free period is a misuse of school time and resources because teenagers are going to waste the time and use it to socialize and not get work done. This is completely wrong. Even if they didn’t do their work, socializing and simply taking a break is not a waste of time.
Studies show taking regular breaks from mental tasks helps productivity and creativity, but not taking breaks leads to anxiety and exhaustion (Korkki, Phyllis). Stressed-out students are not interested in learning. The free period would give more work time to students, and it would help them learn better, be more creative, and be engaged in learning. The free period not only would help the students, but it would help teachers as well. Teachers would be able to better teach a class because the students would be more interested and would listen to the teacher.
It’s easier to teach a student that wants to learn, instead of a student that is overwhelmed, unengaged, and tired. Students’ moods would improve, which would improve the overall enjoyment of the school day for everybody. In conclusion, stress among teenagers is a huge problem and we need to solve it. High schools could easily fix these problems by changing the teenager’s schedules slightly. These students should not be going through all of this pressure and the problems such as, anxiety and depression, that come with it.
Free periods in high schools could help the problem tremendously.