A student's pile of homework awaits to be completed PHOTO BY ZACHARY HAMANN

Underneath the Homework Overload

Students at IACS are getting concerned over their current homework load, resulting in being stressed about not being able to finish it. With a number of assignments and tests being given out from a student’s various classes seemingly all at once, it becomes quite overwhelming to try to manage it all.

Kids have reported staying up late to attempt to finish their work and losing a lot of sleep, causing students to come into school tired and unfocused.
This leads some students to wonder what kind of schedule or “system” the teachers use to hand out assignments and whether or not it’s fair on their end. While it’s a possibility that the teachers may be at fault, are they truly the source of the problem?
Perhaps there are other contributing factors to why these homework loads become so large and challenging to work through.
The primary goal of the teachers is to get their students to learn about whatever subject they are teaching. Although their methods of doing so may vary to some degree, they try to make homework as beneficial as they can for the student.
English Teacher Stephanie DiCarlo, who teaches Analytical writing, Art and Literature, as well as two Journalism classes, uses online based courses such as Google Classroom and bases the content of the assignments as a reflection or tie-in to a previous class or an introduction or preview to an upcoming one.
Math Teacher John Frothingham, who teaches Integrated Math 320, Algebra II, and Math Application, uses a predictable pattern of releasing homework assignments, consisting of usually no more than a page, and usually offers out homework before it’s even assigned. He also stated he may sometimes hand out homework in the middle of class, and allow students to try to get it done before class is over.
Each of the teachers have their own ways and “systems” of handing out assignments, but it’s always done with the intent of it being doable for the students.
Most of the teachers at IACS will try and do whatever they can to get their students to succeed. They usually offer revisions and extensions if a student wants to try and improve their work and receive a higher grade. An extra help period is also held after school at least once a week, where kids may go to try and boost their grade to above a 70 (which is passing), or just want to tackle their homework with some additional guidance. Some may even hand out assignments before they’re even officially assigned to give students the option to get a jump start on their upcoming work.
Since it’s also the teachers’ jobs to get their pupils to succeed in their class(es), it doesn’t seem to be in their best interest to conspire with other teachers to overload them with homework to attempt to tank their grade.
Students still seem to be overloaded with homework. The problem could stem from the students themselves. For one, they may have habits of procrastinating, getting distracted, or being disorganized, which leads to work being done usually the day before it’s due or very late at night. Putting off one’s homework is a quick method into building up a giant load of it.
A student may also have a number of after school activities they need to attend to, such as sports practices. The time spent at these activities or events may eat up time that could be spent doing work. While it’s understandable that a student may prioritize his/her activities over working on say their math homework, it’s still something that could contribute to the problem.
The problem may also originate from beyond the students. The teachers have a number of subjects and or units they need to cover by the end of a semester. If a class were to fall behind for whatever reason, the class would need to pick up speed to be able to get everything covered. This year classes have been cut down by ten minutes, which doesn’t seem like a lot at first, but when you look at of these classes over the course of the semester, there’s numerous hours of class time being lost from last year. Some teachers might not have been properly prepared for this change, and the new schedules have forced them to hand out homework at a faster rate than expected, making the class much more difficult for the student then it was initially planned to be.
Even with all the factors that may cause these large amounts of homework, the students have a number of potential solutions that could help them manage their work better. There’s both Extra Help sessions and Homework Center after school where students may work in a productive environment on their assignments with some teacher support if they request it. Students may also opt to go here as opposed to after school activities to get their work done and boost up their grades, as they may not be able to participate in them if they’re grades are below passing. If a student is taking an honors course, he/she may drop it if they feel that the extra work is too much for them to handle and not worth the extra time and effort.
Having to deal with a large homework load is certainly difficult, but it’s possible to be able to learn something about the whole experience. While being stressed and anxious about getting work done is by no means enjoyable, being able to deal with it and overcome challenges is something that could be beneficial in the long term, as it is likely a similar situation may turn up later in life.
“Me too,” said DiCarlo when asked about how she felt about students feeling stressed over homework. “It’s a hard thing but an important life skill to learn to balance and prioritize work and life activities,” she continued.
Most will agree that it’s no fun having a lot of work to get done, but the experience of confronting adversity is one that can make someone that much more prepared for the future.
Giant loads of homework have become a growing issue here at IACS. Whether the issue stems from bad student habits or the decreased class time, it’s something a number of kids here are struggling to deal with. It seems unclear as to how this problem will be addressed, so students in the meantime will need to put in the extra time and effort to get their work done. Learning to manage and prioritize homework will be key for clearing through these large waves of assignments and projects.

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