Whats more important: homework or sleep?

Nowadays kids are busier than ever.

Sports, extra-curriculars, and out-of-school activities have all increased demands over time. In Minnesota, the average amount of hours in a school day is 6.28 (which differs from school to school) For instance, at Cotter High School, the teenager’s first class starts at 8:45, and their last class ends at 3:15. Six and a half hours. Let’s not forget students that are involved in activities after school. For instance, most after-school practices are held from 3:45 pm-5:30 pm.

If teenagers are not involved in sports right after school, they typically head to work shortly after 3:30 pm. 30% of high school students are working for at least a portion of the school year. Keep in mind that 9th and 10th graders are included in the percentage.

I personally work from 3:30 pm-8:30 pm. Right after school, I have to head straight to work, many times without having time to eat anything before my shift. After work, I’m exhausted and go straight home. By the time I eat, talk to my family, and take a shower, it’s already 9:30 pm-10:00 pm. I also have to get my stuff ready for the next day so my mornings are less stressful and I don’t have to wake up really early. Before I know it, it’s 10:30 pm and time to do my homework.

Typically 4 out of my 7 classes assign homework every day and sometimes every other day. On a given day I would say I receive about 3 hours of homework each night, and that’s if I’m rushing to get it done at a reasonable time. Students are putting less and less time into their homework each night because they simply don’t have the energy to submit quality work. I always want to turn in my best work, but with the amount of homework I get, and the time I have to do it, it’s just not possible. 

Teachers have expectations for their students and assume that when it comes to homework the students are lazy and make excuses not to do it. Have the teachers ever looked at students in the morning? How many of the students look sleep-deprived? How many students do they hear in the morning talking about how tired they are or how late they had to stay up to finish one single assignment?

We are teenagers and need our sleep. We are always being told to get involved in the community and participate in different activities, but it becomes hard to handle when teen already have so much on our plate. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine states that teenagers from 13-18 should be getting 8-10 hours of sleep per night. I do not remember the last time I was able to sleep for 8-10 hours on a school night. This is simply because I am constantly being assigned homework. Sometimes I feel like teachers forget that students get assigned homework in other classes too.

When teachers assign students homework they need to think about how long the assignment will take, what night of the week it is, and how difficult the assignment is. In my opinion, if the teacher does not give students work time during class for the assignment, then it shouldn’t be homework. Allowing students to work on assignments during class allows them to ask questions, and receive help from the teacher and peers.

Teenagers should be able to balance school, work, and after-school activities while still having free time to hang out with friends and family. It’s important to remember that school is like a job. I don’t think any parents would want to come home from a long day at work and immediately start doing more work without having time to relax.