The Homework Question

By MADELINE MECCA

High School is every student’s preparation before they head off to college and learn how to survive in the real world. They come up from middle school and are suddenly hit with responsibilities, deadlines, and constant reminders that college is right around the corner and that they need to be self-sufficient. High school students have to be able to manage their time well enough so they receive the highest scores possible on all tests, essays, and homework. The average student struggles to keep up with it all so imagine how the pressure affects a student athlete who has to focus on all of that and also must meet the demands that come with competing on high school athletic teams.

According to USA Today, the average student puts in about three hours per credit each week when studying. On top of that, a child who plays a sport for their high school team practices about 2-3 hours every day, except Sundays, however this also does not include club sports that take place outside of school which a majority of amateur competitors participate in. Nor does it include school clubs or outside organizations that students are urged to join in an attempt to become a well rounded individual, or “pad the resume” for college admissions.

When signing up or trying out for these sports, team participants are making a commitment to be at ALL practices and games in order to get better and help their team to do the same. Track runner Malayna  says “Track is definitely stressful but I have to be responsible to get my work done whenever I can because playing a sport is not an excuse.”

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Most teachers feel that the amount of homework that they are giving their students per night is standard or even too little. The teachers who responded asked to be kept anonymous, but said that they give simple homework, which is why it is expected for all students to have it completed. However, they also said that the most it should take a student is a half an hour. That does not sound tough, but consider that students have five core classes; a half hour in each class results in two and a half hours of homework. This doesn’t include studying for tests and quizzes as well. This is a lot for the average student; now imagine going to practice every day after school until 5 p.m. The stress is palpable; or is it?

When I spoke to a girl on the lacrosse team (who asked to be kept anonymous), she said that her workload is “overwhelming” when she gets home from practice and “she loses her focus” and ends up going to school the next day with her homework incomplete. Brendan  a runner for the boys track team , says “I’m less likely to complete my homework on the days when I compete in meets. None of my teachers except for one actually checks my homework, and that teacher is pretty lenient with it especially if I have a meet.”

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Almost all students who were asked if this were true agreed to the statement. It was almost rare for their teachers to check or collect homework, and they were giving a lot of it. The idea of homework has become almost useless to teens. When eleventh grader Geraldine spoke about her homework she claimed to have spent hours per night studying and finishing work that was sent home with her “In the end I benefit on tests after preparing each night,” which makes sense, however another student, Dylan says “I usually do a week’s’ worth of homework the night before it’s due. I don’t really spend that much time on it, and it still counts.” With multiple responses that echo Dylan’s, many students, not just athletes are curious as to the benefit of completing homework. It is not fair that some are stressed or spend hours focused on the assignments while others view it as optional.

According to these statistics, it can be concluded that teachers don’t really spend the same amount of time checking the homework they’ve administered as students do completing it, and after almost twelve years of learning, students have caught on. Eleventh grader, Chelsea, feels that people who do the homework fully are getting the same credit as kids who are doing it a period before, copying, handing it in half done, or late. This is only true on the rare occasions that the teacher does collect the homework, which doesn’t seem to happen often.

Homework to students has now become optional. When a teacher gives work out at the end of class, it will get done if there is time; if not, there is no punishment for incomplete assignments and it barely affects a student’s grade.  For many learners, the philosophy on homework is, “What’s the point?”