Friday, September 4, 2015

A Day in the Life of a 10th Grader

So on the agenda for my handsome, smart Sophomore son today, starting last night...
7 pm - arrived home from school and after school band practice
Get started on homework...then dinner...then more homework (AP Chemistry lab due tomorrow; prep for Chemistry Quiz tomorrow; prep for Spanish 2 test tomorrow; prep for English vocabulary test tomorrow; one page essay over current events article for English article of the week; watch video & take notes for World History). I'm tired just thinking about all that.
About 11 pm took shower, continued homework, bed about midnight.
Up at about 6:15 to be at school for band by 7:15 this morning. Get dressed. Quick devo.  Quick breakfast. Out the door. 3 tests at school today, jazz band tryouts, other "normal" class responsibilities, band hall at 5:30 tonight for home football game, home about 11 - maybe. And he'll be writing that one page article of the week for 9th period Pre-AP English today after he inhales his lunch because he was too worn out to finish it last night at midnight when he went to bed.
I know many parents of HS students reading this post can concur with a similar schedule for their student.  My son is strong & smart, but he's not Superman. Band is an extracurricular choice. I get that. Everything else mentioned is school required. Is there a way to tell my son's Pre-AP and AP teachers that giving him a greater workload in each class each day doesn't make him smarter?  Four hours of homework a week just in English doesn't make him better or smarter in English. It just makes him busier. Creates more stress. Keeps him up later. Wears him down faster. Those classes should be harder, and they are. That's a given. I've got no problem with that. Just doesn't mean the amount of homework should be exorbitant just because the work is hard or harder. I love and respect teachers and educators and all they do to help educate, train, and equip our students to be prepared for  life to come. Most are overworked & underpaid and under appreciated. Thanks for your sacrifices and for going the extra mile for my children. But there are some who still need a reality check:  Four hours of homework or more a week in one subject - unrealistic. 15-20 hours a week at school for one extra curricular activity - unrealistic. I could go on and on and on. But I won't; except to say - My son shouldn't be at school longer every day than he is at home each day. He shouldn't be at school longer in a day every day than I am at work. But most days, he is.  Find your peripheral vision please.  Dont just see with tunnel vision.  Yours is not the only class or activity my son is in. His life doesn't revolve around your class or event or activity. Help me out here and see the bigger picture.
And the truth is, I'm concerned for my son.  He does have a life aside from Chemistry and Algebra and English and History and band.  I want him to enjoy it. I don't want him to crater from the weight of the load. Let's work together as teachers & parents. More work doesn't equal more productive students. Busier so as to keep out of trouble doesn't equal better or trouble-free lives.  That's potentially a double-edged sword. Parents can (and should) have their kids involved in less things -  no doubt. But that's not what I'm talking about. Last time I checked - reading, writing, and 'rithmatic are not optional. Band - optional. Football, cheer - optional. Choir, drill team, volleyball - optional. Science - required. Math, LA, History - required. Homework, labs, AR, tests, etc. etc. - required. We've all got to do our part. Parents. Teachers. Coaches. Counselors. Administrators.
My son is on your watch. Volume of work doesn't equal victory or success in life for him. I'll manage and help guide his involvement in extracurricular activities and help balance that with his required work at school. But teachers - can you help keep the volume of required work reasonable?  Yours is not the only class my son is in. Can you work with us?  Can you be more flexible?  Challenge him in class. Stretch him to be the best he can be. I want that, and he needs that. Thank you for doing that.  But don't break him please.  Don't think you've got to give him more work for him to earn the right to be in your class. He doesn't. He's already earned the right to be there.  And he's the only Sophomore I got. And he's pretty smart and pretty special and pretty strong. But he's not Superman.  He's a 15-year old Sophomore.  And he's mine. And his mom and I are pretty fond of him. And when I don't think you're being fair or reasonable where he's concerned, you'll be hearing from me and/or seeing me. And when you do, don't take it personal. I'm called to be his advocate and fight for him - and I will. And I'll be fair and professional. And I'll listen. And when he's wrong or needs correcting or redirected, I'll do it. But when you're unreasonable or unrealistic or wrong, I hope you'll be willing to adjust also. I will when it's the case for me. Let's work together. There's too much at stake not to. Thanks. - John (Parent In Progress)

1 comment:

  1. As a teacher trained mom of one college graduate and one soon to be college grad(Dec), I was there and felt your pain--even when Jenna was in 3rd grade I saw the extra busy work(and wasted time in class). That was when we decided to homeschool our girls. I was the one who said I would NEVER homeschool-- I was a teacher and wanted a classroom!

    God had other ideas for my family. Homeschooling gave my family FAMILY time. I wanted my kids to get to be kids and not have all the added pressure. I could see what they were learning and if they knew it, we could move on.

    I will be praying that the teachers see that these kids have other classes and extra things they do and ease up a bit.

    Praying for the best for your kids, and all the others out there. Oh yes, my girls will have both graduated college with the highest honors--even with just me as their teacher!!!