My name is Zahra Kazemaini, a hard-working freshman. I have been enrolled at Mentor Public Schools since sixth grade and furthermore, have loved my experience. I believe that Mentor is a great public schooling system; giving every student the opportunity to pursue their education in a path that will best set them up for the real world. Since I am a freshman at the high school, I have been able to see issues that adults or older students have possibly become immune to noticing. Personally, my freshman year has been difficult as I am trying to learn how to manage the early times and the standards each class requires of me. The biggest issue I have seen not only within myself, but students throughout the whole school is regarding the amount of homework we attain. Not only does homework restrain the amount of time I have to study, but I have started to simply go through the motions of doing my work to get it completed for class. There are countless nights where I will be up too late doing schoolwork and getting too little sleep. Numerous days will leave me constantly stressed about the hours of homework I have that night. Lastly, almost every day I question if I should skip practice, my commitment, and my stress reliever, to finish assignments. Why should I be questioning whether or not I should attend something that makes me happy for school? This is why homework needs to be reduced at every grade level. In order to benefit the mental states of every student, there needs to be a restraint on homework given each week, block scheduling, or different school start times.
To begin, homework has become a very big issue in the high school level: threatening a teens mental state, and academic success. There have been too many times in which I will be doing my homework until 1 in the morning because I get back from soccer practice at a late time. Not only do I stay up so late, but I lose sleep, and am constantly stressed about what I have to do after soccer. Our guidance counselors have told us students since the start to participate in as many after-school clubs as we can and to take very challenging courses. These suggestions are supposed to better every student and to make them look best when college comes. Rigorous classes demand a lot of time and work ethic, furthermore; clubs that take time out of the afternoon do as well. How are we supposed to do this when it is just going to leave students stressed for a year? To further stress that our school environments are beginning to ask too much of students, I conducted a 70 person research. In this survey, I asked the simple question, "Has your counselor told you to participate in after-school clubs, and take difficult classes?" As expected, nearly 80% of the people in this pole claimed that they have. To follow up with this, the question "How often do you get panic attacks or mental breakdowns over school?" was asked. This poll was answered with 40% saying almost every day. By just taking a simple poll, I have discovered that schoolwork is not only stressing me out, but it is negatively affecting all of my peers as well. There are numerous articles as to why homework is deemed irrelevant. For example, in an article titled Homework: No proven benefits, it states "It may surprise you, as it did me, to learn that no study has ever demonstrated any academic benefit to assigning homework before children are in high school. In fact, even in high school, the association between homework and achievement is weak -- and the data don't show that homework is responsible for higher achievement" This further proves that homework is simply a stressor, and does not benefit the average person. Additionally, I also believe that there is a lack of communication between teachers on the frequency among how often they give their students homework. I cannot stress how many days in a row I have to complete homework for 6 classes; giving me about 3 hours a night. In the poll I conducted, 30 people said that they do about 3 hours of homework a night, in addition; 20 said that they do 2 hours. In short, I believe that mental health can be improved by tenfold if homework was not an issue anymore. Homework needs to be reduced in every grade level because it adds unneeded stress, is too excessive, and retains a teen from getting enough sleep.
In order to solve this issue, some adjustments need to be made. My first proposal is to simply give teachers a restraint on how often homework is assigned during a week. There should be some sort of limit in which teachers cannot assign homework that should take longer than 10-15 minutes a subject. This not only makes it easier to get homework for every subject done: it also will also reduce the 3 hour homework time to around an hour. Additionally, I believe that the best option is for our district is to change its bell schedule. With 45 minute classes, I feel that it is much more difficult for teachers to complete their lessons, therefore assigning students to finish what they did not in class on top of the homework they originally planned to assign in order to stay on schedule. I feel as if this is another reason as to why homework is so excessive these days. Changing to a 90-minute block scheduling format will give teachers 90 minutes to teach their lessons fully, answer more questions, and even help students with their homework in class. With only 3 to 4 classes during the day, it will make a students environment feel less repetitive, and allow them to only have to worry about 3 or 4 classes with homework rather than six a day. Furthermore, block scheduling will also give students a 90-minute study hall.
This type of free period would also allow a student to complete their homework within an hour and a half; giving them no homework for the night. In an article written by the National Education Association, titled Research Spotlight on Block Scheduling, it states that “Students have more time for reflection and less information to process over the course of a school day.” This information proves that block scheduling can also help students academically while benefiting their stress levels with decreased homework. Lastly, I believe there is one more option in which it will benefit students: having adjusted times. For example, allowing school days to start at 8:30 in the morning can give a student who is working late, or at practice until 10 pm time to sleep. On the other hand, there can also be days where we start at the normal time so that the student who works at 3 can get there on time. With all the talk about change, I wanted to see what someone who is actually capable of making the changes would stand with adjusted bell schedules. In an email with Porter, Wiliam. "Re: Block Scheduling." Received by Z Kazemaini, 19 March 2019. It states, "One of the things we will be doing in the next few years is studying schedules at the high school and middle schools to see if there are changes that make sense or options that can be built into the schedule to help students. Block scheduling will probably be discussed, along with varying start times, online options, and more." This information provided by my school superintendent is showing that he is supportive of change and that the school is open to discovering more about it. If more students like me can cry for help to our principles, then our principles can continue to make the board more and more aware of what we are asking. In order to benefit the mental states of every student, there needs to be a restraint on homework given each week, block scheduling, or different school start times.
In short, I still believe that Mentor Schools is a great environment to attend, and has successfully taught students in the past, and continues to today. Times are changing and expectations and the importance of grades are becoming harder and harder for students to achieve every day. This is why change needs to be implemented in our school so that we can feel less stressed, better equipped to learn, and more aware. Homework within our school needs to be reduced so that students can have a better mental state. In conclusion, there needs to be a restraint on homework given each week, block scheduling, or different school start times in order to allow students to be at ease.