Ninety Nine Problems and Homework is One

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Courtesy of Wendy Rodriguez

The editor-in-chief smiles for her staff photo taken last week on October 7, 2020.

Wendy Rodriguez, Editor-in-Chief

We are in a pandemic, elections are coming up, in-person learning isn’t in session, yet teachers are assigning us three or more hours of homework most nights. 

With everything going on, students hope that teachers would empathize with their learning modalities in the midst of current life events. But they do not.

Ever since the start of the school year with online instruction, I, like many students, study late at night trying to complete homework. This leads to a lack of time with family, skipping meals to study, sleep deprivation, headaches, and so much more. 

I have been struggling with this for months but a conversation with a former teacher really highlighted the circumstances that students face.

I received an unexpected text message from my ninth grade Algebra one teacher that said, “Hey Wendy, it’s been a long time since we spoke. How are you doing?” 

I replied with “things have been stressful and overwhelming like always.”

She consoled me and told me that I am not alone and I have help. She also shared how English teacher, Joel Medina, sent out a 20 slide presentation named “What I Wish Teachers Understood.”

The majority, if not all students, said they are receiving too much homework, they don’t have time off the computer, and sometimes they want to give up.

I felt that. 

Junior, Yamileth Silva, is one of those students who is assigned a lot of homework daily. This year, she is taking three Advanced Placement (AP) classes along with an honors math class. 

“I wish teachers could understand that many students are struggling financially and emotionally. We fear for our parents, our home, our health, our friends, our relatives, our rights, our future president, and the six (or more) assignments due at midnight,” said Silva. 

The poll shown was created by the author and posted on her Instagram story. (Poll Created on Straw Poll)

Being home all day most definitely does not mean I have all the time in the world. I have personal interests outside of school just like teachers do, like talking to friends, pursuing hobbies of writing and riding my bike, and spending time with my family.

Is it difficult for teachers to sympathize with that?

Don’t get me wrong, there are some teachers who are extremely understanding and compassionate towards their students. But, less homework still needs to be assigned. 

Last week, I created a poll, where students answered their homework stress. After 24 hours, the results were out of 102 students, 84 voted yes, they receive more homework than usual, while 16 of them said no. 

As much as teachers are struggling to provide their students with the best education possible, I am struggling to exceed all their expectations and that includes managing to complete the homework they assign. 

And honestly, we are receiving much more homework than usual. 

Last year, even though I would stay up late doing homework, I believe that the workload was just enough.

This shouldn’t be, considering I have additional responsibilities at home, such as: helping my siblings with their online classes (while trying to learn online myself), cooking for myself and siblings during our breaks, sweeping, cleaning the bathrooms, and vacuuming. 

I understand I am super involved and take three AP classes, an after school dual enrollment class, am the editor-in-chief for the school newspaper, on ASB Senate, and School Site Council, but I should still have time to practice self care and be with my family. 

But, that cannot happen because I am stuck on a computer screen for about 12-13 hours a day during school and after school.

“For the time being, I wish all teachers (not just my own) take into consideration that like them, not all students have the facilities, mental capacity, and ability to keep up with all the work, especially with lack of social interaction in a classroom,” said senior Erick Garcia. 

Teachers just have unrealistic expectations during these tough times.”

Daily, I wake up at 7:40 a.m. and attend office hours if needed. If not, I usually get ahead with assignments due that day. I usually go to bed around 11 p.m. if not, midnight. 

Clearly, I do not have any time for myself which has affected me as a whole. 

In reality, a lot of my free time is now doing homework. My screen time has dramatically increased due to remote learning and homework. Teachers just have unrealistic expectations during these tough times.

It is only fair to have the weekend as a mental break from homework, but it never happens when teachers assign homework over the weekend that is due Monday. It would be nice for teachers to come together and agree to not assign homework on the weekends. 

School is difficult for everyone regardless of grade level right now. So it is just a matter of being flexible with one another and meeting our needs. 

Senior, Ivan Villegas, is taking four AP classes, orchestra, and tennis while juggling college applications. He thinks teachers assign too much homework but some days more than others. He sometimes stays on the computer all day.

“I feel unmotivated to do some work and it affects me more than I think. But, I keep going just to keep my mom happy,” said Villegas. 

He added, “I wish teachers understood that there are family situations that take up a lot of our time and effort.”

I hope teachers take the time to reflect and realize that just like they are overwhelmed, students are too. We are all doing our part to be successful, and just stay healthy, during this odd and difficult time.

The only resolution is to assign less homework.

And think about it, teachers, you’ll have less papers to grade.