We Need More Time!

Imagine your teenage son or daughter coming home from a week of school, homework, and a job.

They head straight into their room and start bursting out into tears. This comes from lack of sleep and tremendous amounts of stress. Unfortunately, this has happened to many students, friends of mine, and myself from time to time. When the homework piles up, it becomes overwhelming to a lot of people. Everyday, I hear friends complaining about having more than five hours of homework a night,and everyday they debate whether they should finish their homework, or get some sleep.

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The massive amounts of homework my friends get comes from having six short classes versus five longer classes. With having six shorter classes, you get more homework and less time to get everything done to an adequate quality. Five classes a day are better for students and teachers than six classes a day. Students and teachers have too much stress from having more classes. One of the major problems with having more classes and homework is that it affects your sleep.

Teens are supposed to get 8-10 hours of sleep each night but may only get 4-5 hours. The National Sleep Foundation wrote “skipping sleep can be harmful, you can look bad, you may feel moody,… you perform poorly, [and not sleeping can] hurt your scores on school exams.

” Homework is supposed to help us with tests and quizzes, but when students have too much homework, they are unable to get an adequate amount of sleep to perform to their best abilities. Noelle Leonard, a senior research scientist, who specializes in high risk youth health disparities, at the New York University College of Nursing, wrote “academic, athletic, social, and personal challenges have been regarded as domains of ‘good stress’ for high school aged youth. However, there is growing awareness that many subgroups of youth experience high levels of chronic stress, to the extent that it impedes their abilities to succeed academically, compromises their mental health functioning, and fosters risk behavior.” Even so called ‘good students’ experience this stress because their drive to succeed at everything contributes to the problem. I interviewed Sophia, a student who has had both five and six classes a day, to get her opinion on the issue.

I asked her what she thought of having six classes a day instead of five classes a day. She responded with how she detested the fact that with more classes, it is harder for her to get her homework done for that class. She claims she has to take home more homework then she has ever had to in a day. Sophia talked about how stressful it can be to have more classes because there is more homework she has to do. I have also noticed how many more academic classes I have instead of elective courses, and she agreed that almost all of her classes are academic, except for orchestra, and with also taking honors classes there is a lot of pressure to work to the best of your ability.

The final question I asked her was how much is her sleep was affected by homework. She responded with she doesn’t get much sleep, but when she tries to get in her eight hours of required sleep, some of her homework is remained unfinished until tomorrow morning before class starts. From Sophia, myself, and other students, we agree with the opinions expressed in the interview because I spend about three hours a night doing my homework and when I have sports after school everything is pushed until after practice is over, leaving less time for homework and family. You may be thinking, “just wait until they get a job and how much pressure they will have to deal with at that time,” but people should care about this topic because it is frequently seen everyday in students, and without trying to fix it the students will be affected in years to come. The downside to having five classes a day instead of six classes a day is that some school systems are in semesters, and there would be only academic classes. If we switched to block scheduling, we would have more time to do our homework and would have both academic classes and elective classes during our day.