The Mash

As another school year approaches, the debate about the amount of school work students get continues. Two reporters sound off about this issue.

Just because you’re busy doesn’t mean you’re productive.

By Alexander Vassiliadis

Balance. That’s the magic word behind this question. Although it’s important to have more than just a couple report cards to show for high school, you don’t want to bite off more than you can chew. Captain of the debate team, editor of the school newspaper and head of the volleyball team–it all sounds great until you get home at 8 p.m. on a Monday night, tired, hungry and fully aware that an obnoxious amount of homework is waiting for you when you finally stumble into your room.

Different people can handle so much physical and mental stress, but overdoing it is never good.

The thing that most fail to realize is that having hours upon hours of busy work is not necessarily a good thing. Students need to be given enough work to fully grasp the topic they’re learning about. For some, this work amounts to more than for others. Those who can understand the topic faster than others have time to go and pursue other activities outside of school to a further extent.

Some teachers may argue that not everyone uses this extra time productively. In response I ask, is it right to constrict students who do want to use their extra time wisely just because some might not use their time in the best ways?

Teens should learn more beyond the classroom

By John Mederich
Northwestern University

Although school work is important for developing a variety of academic-related skills, I do think that having time to excel in other activities that are of personal interest is equally important. I feel that a lot of times homework is just busy work and doesn’t adequately reinforce knowledge. Instead, students could be devoting time to develop artistic, athletic, or musical talents, to name a few.

Of course I don’t think that school work should be eliminated. I think  a few hours of homework a night can be very useful if it serves a constructive purpose. However, if homework consists of completing packet after packet of assignments, then it can get pretty redundant and students tend to check out of the learning process.

Aside from school work, teenagers need time to pursue things they’re passionate about. Writing and volunteer work are two activities I’m passionate about, but when I’m swamped with school work then it gets difficult to stay committed to those activities. However, when I do have the opportunity to engage in activities that interest me I find that I am able to develop skills and abilities in areas outside of my school work.

Teenagers are at the age where they have a lot of potential to learn new things. While school work should be emphasized, teachers should also recognize when assignments become more tedious than useful. A little recess from the life of academia never did anyone any harm.

>> John Mederich is a 2012 graduate of Mather.

What do you think? Is it better to do less school work so you’ll have time to do other extracurriculars? Or does getting more school work mean you’re learning more? Tell us what you think in the comment section below.

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About The Mash

The Mash is the Chicago Tribune's newspaper and website written for teens, by teens. The paper is distributed for free every other Thursday at Chicago-area high schools and is written largely by high school students.

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