Are students exhausted — or just plain lazy?


POINT: Megan Horne, Student

You come home with a major headache, throw your backpack down and plop onto the couch.

Your parents ask: “How was your day?”

You reply with the usual answer: “Exhausting.”

After all, you just got done with eight hours of school, and now you have homework. You look forward to the weekend, but they aren’t enough either, since teachers give you homework then, too.

“It only takes 30 minutes,” most teachers say. But what they don’t realize is those 30 minutes add up when you have more than one homework assignment for each class. And when you don’t understand the subject, one piece of homework can take all night.

“Then come to tutoring,” teachers respond. But when you don’t understand a subject, you don’t want to come in for tutoring because you’re so tired. You want to go home, lay in bed, spend time with family, get away from it all. Then the next day, it’s the same thing: It keeps going in a cycle.

Teachers wonder why we don’t want to work or why our homework is never finished. That’s the reason: We’re exhausted. We count down the days to summer to get to sleep in and to not have to stress about making it to the 70 mark.

Sometimes you have family plans that night or some kind of conflict that causes you to not do your assignments. Some teachers give you lunch detentions or worse for not doing your work when it’s not necessarily your fault you had plans with family. I feel teachers have a problem understanding that students have a life outside of school. Our whole lives can’t revolve around getting everything done in one night. You want to have a little fun in your lifetime, without stress.

I’m not placing all the blame on teachers. Some kids may just be coming up with excuses to not complete their work. Maybe teachers can come up with a procedure where kids get their parent to write a note saying that the student wasn’t able to do their assignment because of family reasons and they could finish it another night. Then there wouldn’t be a kid making excuses, teachers still get their assignment, and no one would get in trouble.

Maybe if those changes were made to the system, kids would come home with a different answer than “exhausted.”

COUNTERPOINT: Sescelli Redd, 8th grade ELAR teacher

“OK, class, put your homework in the tray and get started on your warm up.”

As I grab the assignments from the tray, I count three papers. I quickly take inventory of the students in the classroom: “25, 26, 27.”

A few weeks later, progress reports come out, and a flood of frantic students rush my desk.

“Ms. Redd, what can I do to bring my grade up? Do you have extra credit I can do?”

My response is a simple one.

“Did you do all of your work and turn in all of your assignments?”

The look of panic drains from their faces, replaced by dumbfounded shock.

“Well, uh, I, uh, forgot to do it.”

“You forgot to do 10-plus assignments?”

There is a small pause for emphasis, and then I say in an encouraging voice, “I suppose we know what we need to do differently these next three weeks to bring that grade up?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

Students have a variety of excuses for why they cannot — or did not — do their homework. My thought over the years has stayed the same. As a student, your job — I dare say, your career — is to learn, and learning does not stop at the dismissal bell. Your social lives, hobbies and extracurriculars should take second fiddle to your education.

I do understand extenuating circumstances, but 24 out of 27 students did not have an emergency. I cannot speak for all teachers, but as for myself, the homework in my class comes as a result of classwork that is not completed and must be taken home to finish.

I can say with utter certainty that the students who did not finish were not “too exhausted” to chit-chat or goof around.

By all means, children should enjoy their childhood, but they must also learn to prioritize and be responsible. Will our future generation be too exhausted to provide for themselves or will the lesson of hard work and responsibility that should be learned now shape them for future success?