“Nearly half (49%) of all students reported feeling ‘a great deal of stress’ on a daily basis and 31 percent reported feeling somewhat stressed. Females reported significantly higher levels of stress than males (60% vs. 41%)” (New York University). These statistics clearly show that stress is a real problem for students. High school students are now more stressed than ever in this time and age. The question is, why? What can possibly cause nearly half of high school students to be stressed? It’s because students are expected to do so much in limited time, they have to sit in classrooms for nearly 6 hours, and they sometimes procrastinate on the homework.
High school students are stressed because they get a plethora of homework every single day. In the article, “Students Spend More Time on Homework but Teachers Say It’s Worth It” by Allie Bidwell, it talks about Allie Bidwell notes, “…students nowadays are spending significantly more time on homework assignments – sometimes up to 17.5 hours each week” (Bidwell). This quote shows that students spend 3.5 hours a day doing homework. By overwhelming the student however, and though they have the intention of getting their work done, the stress may cause them to change their mind and not complete the task. One of the many reasons on why students are stressed; it’s because students have their mind focused on homework for nearly 3.5 hours each day. From personal experience, I get 2.5 to 3 hours of homework everyday, and even more hours if we have a certification or big paper due this week. A student can decide to not do their homework and procrastinate because they want to distract themselves from school or they don’t just want to do homework in general. Overtime, this can build a poor habit for the students not choosing to do their work.
Furthermore, students also have stress because so much of their day is spent in a classroom. I wanted to find out more about what is actually going on inside a classroom, so I decided to interview a middle school/high school teacher, Eva Oliver. On January 8th, 2018, Oliver was explaining that she cares for her students academic achievements, and that she will try to gain her students attention by having pertinent lessons. She commented, “For example, in seventh and eighth grade, we’re learning about liberation and oppression. So that students who are experiencing oppression, feel like they have the agency to make change in the world… So I try and bring in things that I think kids might be curious about and interested about so that they care more about learning” (Oliver). The keywords that stand out the most are experiencing, make change, and interested because those are the words that are inside an inspired student who feel like they can face anything in front of them. Oliver is trying to wake up a deep desire of each and every single student to let them know that what they are studying, may be happening in your life without you noticing it. If a teacher is teaching students about a topic that relates or connect to them, the students will be interested in wanting to know more. Oliver wants her students to know all the positives and negatives that are happening in the world as we speak because she wants her students to see a new color that they haven’t seen before.
Who is supposed to be teaching in a classroom? A hundred percent of people would say that the teacher of course. Then let me ask this question, why do we still have textbooks? In the article, “Why textbooks don’t work and hurt schools” by Jay Mathews, stated that textbooks aren’t as helpful as they are supposed to be. The author wrote, “Textbooks don’t work well. Research shows that with rare exceptions they do not help improve student achievement much. They are not effective because effectiveness doesn’t sell” (Mathews). If research shows that textbooks aren’t efficient, then why do we have them? Textbooks aren’t working, and they are very expensive. Why pay thousands of dollars for a textbook if the students aren’t going to gain information from it? Life Academy is a school in Oakland and the teachers (that are supposed to teach with a textbook) don’t want to actually teach from a textbook because they despise it. They know that students will get bored from reading and that they won’t get gain the knowledge from the textbook. If a teacher is going to teach with a textbook, you might as well cover the students ears and eyes because they will not go anywhere with a textbook.
Some people might argue that textbooks are helpful in the classroom. In the article, “Textbooks: Advantages and Disadvantages” by TeacherVision, they talk about the positives and negatives of having textbooks in a classroom. TeacherVision have a list of bullet points on the positives of textbooks; they explain, “Textbooks are especially helpful for beginning teachers. The material to be covered and the design of each lesson are carefully spelled out in detail… Textbooks provide organized units of work. A textbook gives you all the plans and lessons you need to cover a topic in some detail” (TeacherVision). TeacherVision argues that textbooks help new/beginner teachers and help cover lessons, while being organized. However, textbooks can be quite expensive. The average cost of a high school textbook costs around 70$, according to the News Tribune. How many students are in high school exactly? Roughly around 15.1 million students, reported by the National Center for Educational Statistics. Take 70$ and multiply it by 15.1 million; every school combined will spend over 1 billion dollars on textbooks, which could’ve been used for other more, reliable sources.
To move along, schools are supposed to place knowledge into the students brain, otherwise students will be unsuccessful. When a student enjoys their education, they seem to understand that school is important and that everyone should be taking advantage of gaining knowledge. For example, Hugo Galvan, a student from MetWest High School, enjoys his education and he is what was described in the beginning of this paragraph. Hugo stated, “Yeah I believe students should be more engaged in school because school will take them like higher level and get them like jobs and stuff” (Galvan). This quote matters because when students care for each other, they want everyone to be successful. Having this mindset will lead to every student relying on each other and helping each other when someone is struggling. If students realize that school is important in an early stage, they will be successful early in life.
In conclusion, students need to be taken care of because a majority of them are dealing with stress, students need to be taught about topics where they can relate by a teacher, not a textbook. Finally, students can be successful when they see the opportunity of taking advantage of gaining knowledge, which will help them in the future.
Galvan, Hugo. “Student Education Interview.” 7 Jan. 2018.
I interviewed Galvan, a Junior at Metwest High School and his experience with his education at Metwest. Hugo explained that he is stressed in school, mainly his math and science classes. He likes his education because his teachers help him get to the place where he is accomplishing his goal, having acceptable grades. He sees a couple of students that need don’t like going to school or don’t do their work. He thinks that some students don’t engage in school because they probably dislike the way their teacher is teaching them or they don’t feel like putting in the effort to the work. Hugo believes that students should be more engaged in school because school will get them into a higher level and to help them look and obtain jobs. Hugo is enjoying his experience with his education because he is still learning and has one year to go until he goes to college. Hugo is a credible source because he is currently a student and a person who noticing the things that are happening in his own high school. He realizes that education is important and hopefully, he encourages his struggling peers to keep on pushing.
Mathews, Jay. “Why textbooks don’t work and hurt schools.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 25 Feb. 2012, www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/class-struggle/post/why-our-textbooks-dont-work/2012/02/25/gIQAvI16ZR_blog.html?utm_term=.07b981ff5314.
This article explains that textbooks don’t work with the student and don’t improve student achievement. Some textbooks might even give out false information, which happened in a Virginia textbook. But they also say that textbooks are helpful for students if they are part of a curriculum designed by educators who know what works in the classroom and what doesn’t. This source is credible because The Washington Post is a reliable source and the publish
er is an education columnist and a blogger for the Washington Post, for 40 years.
Oliver, Eva. “Student Engagement Interview.” 8 Jan. 2018.
I interviewed Oliver to talk about classroom struggles, classroom positives, and student problems as well. She explained that when students don’t care about the topic, they distance themselves from it and do not attempt at trying to learn something new. Eva tries to gain her students attention by having a diversity of what they are going to learn about for the next couple of weeks. Eva also teach her students about oppression and liberation so that they care more about learning. Eva commented that when a student doesn’t do his or her work, the class gets on them. When she sees that the class attempts to uphold each other, it tells her that these students are trying and be successful. Eva is a credible source because she is a teacher at Life Academy that has been here for 7 years. Additionally, she knows/understands her students very well and she actually tries to attempt at building a bond with her students, which a lot of other teachers, don’t try to do.
Communications, NYU Web. “NYU Study Examines Top High School Students’ Stress and Coping Mechanisms.” NYU, www.nyu.edu/about/news-publications/news/2015/august/nyu-study-examines-top-high-school-students-stress-and-coping-mechanisms.html.
“Textbooks: Advantages and Disadvantages (Advice for Teachers, Grades K-12).” TeacherVision, 25 Jan. 2007, www.teachervision.com/curriculum-planning/textbooks-advantages-disadvantages.
Bidwell, Allie. “Students Spend More Time on Homework but Teachers Say It’s Worth It.” U.S. News & World Report, U.S. News & World Report, www.usnews.com/news/articles/2014/02/27/students-spend-more-time-on-homework-but-teachers-say-its-worth-it.Tags: #Lifeacademy #Education #PeaceLoveandPositivity #AbolishTextbooks #Stress