Letter to President
Picture this: A highschool student hunched over a glaring computer screen, bags forming under his or her eye sockets, frantically typing an essay that is due the following morning. Sounds like a nightmare, right? For most teenagers, this is their everyday reality. High schoolers are constantly bombarded with projects and papers that keep them up all night and have detrimental effects on their health. For the sake of our teenager’s physical and mental wellness, America’s public schools should limit the amount of homework students are receiving.
An abundance of continuous homework will prevent students from receiving their vital amount of socialization time. Socializing with parents, friends, and other adults is how we make connections, and how we learn to develop properly. Undeniably, many teachers and other authority members will argue that we get this socialization time in class or even on social media, which to a certain extent is true. Yes, we are given time in class or in the hallways to talk with our friends, but what about our parents and siblings? Currently, I am in my bedroom typing this paper for my language arts class, while my family is downstairs eating dinner. Students are gone for about 8 hours of the day for school, and then come home to yet again continue their 3.5 hours of school work. It is just as crucial, if not more important for students to socialize and work on those necessary communication skills as it is to learn arithmetic. Kids nowadays are struggling with these skills, and by not giving them the opportunity to utilize them could be the reason why. Bob Livingstone, a clinical social worker claims in his article, “How do Young People Communicate Today?”, that face to face contact with adults is essential because “connecting deeply with others is the most rewarding aspect of being alive” and direct communication practice will help with “job interviews,” and learning “how to ask and answer direct questions.” Most adults will consider time spent with peers a distraction from other important activities, when actually close friend groups are especially important during adolescence, and help with the teen’s maturity and development as an adult (“Adolescent Socialization”, 2016). Homework will cut into our teens needed socialization time and even their future behavior.
Lack of socialization time is not the only downfall of a surplus of after school work, it also will lead to an increase of sleep deprivation in students. The average student is assigned 3.5 hours of homework each night. Taking in consideration their after school activities (which are recommended for acceptance to most colleges), they have no choice but to cut into their rest time. The average amount of sleep most teenagers receive is between 7 and 7 ¼ hours. However it is recommended, from a report by Nationwide Children’s Hospital, they get between 9 and 9 ½ hours (“Sleep in Adolescents”, 2003). Majority of teenagers are missing 2 crucial hours of sleep, which will affect their health and performance in school. As a matter of fact, sleep deficiency can raise your risk for some chronic health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. It will also impact how well you think, react, work, learn, and get along with others (“Why Is Sleep Important?”, 2012). Students will have a harder time focusing in class with lack of sleep, which can only lead to decreasing in grades, and overall comprehension of the material being taught to them. To make matters worse, a recent study from Harvard Medical School proved that not obtaining the correct amount of sleep will increase the risk of developing a mood disorder, such as anxiety or depression (“Healthy Sleep”, 2008). Overall, sleep is a crucial part of a teenager’s routine, and by not receiving their recommended 9 hours, it will affect them. So we must ask ourselves, is piling homework on our teens really worth it?
Furthermore, and in my opinion the most important reason we should limit homework given to students, is the unnecessary amount of stress that comes with it. Teens have their whole adulthood to worry about taxes, jobs, and supporting a family, so why should we put this stress from homework onto our adolescents? A survey from Stanford University shows that 56 percent of the students considered homework a primary source of stress (Parker, Stanford University). Stress will impact your body, your thoughts, behavior, and feelings. Many of my close friends suffering from tremendous amounts of stress, experience multiple mental breakdowns, headaches, hot flashes, and trouble focusing in class and at home. I have first-hand witnessed my older sister cry endlessly at 2 AM from stress caused by homework. It is even proven by the American Psychological Association that teenagers “report stress levels even higher than those reported by adults” (“Teen Stress Rivals that of Adults”, Bethune, 2014). The difference between adults and teenagers? Adults don’t have to deal with the pressure of grades and homework.
Like previously stated, many authority figures and other adults will disagree with my stand and opinions. I understand the importance of homework and the many ways it can benefit us, but there are too many times where I have first-hand experienced and witnessed others deal with the detrimental impacts of it. I hope you take this letter, from the point of view of a tired, stressed, and fed up student, into great consideration when dealing with America’s school systems.
Sincerely, Jessie Greatorex.
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Klein, Karin. "About 3.5 Hours of Homework a Day for High Schoolers? That's Too Much." Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 2014. Web. 30 Oct. 2016.
Http://occupytheory.org/author/occupytheoryadmin/. "List of Pros and Cons of Homework." OccupyTheory. N.p., 2015. Web. 30 Oct. 2016.
Parker, By Clifton B. "Stanford Research Shows Pitfalls of Homework." Stanford News. N.p., 2016. Web. 30 Oct. 2016.
"Sleep in Adolescents - United Sleep D." N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Oct. 2016.
"Why Is Sleep Important? - NHLBI, NIH." U.S National Library of Medicine. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 30 Oct. 2016.
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