Putting a positive spin on school

Students in Michigan went back to school a couple of weeks ago, on the day after Labor Day. Some kids look forward to the day they’ll be reunited with friends after a long summer, while others wish school would never start again. Going into the start of the school year, my first reaction was horror. “School!? I have to go back!?” Then I tried to put a positive spin on it, telling myself it really wouldn’t be so bad. For me, school was certainly not something to be looked forward to, but I figured it really couldn’t be that bad.

School means an end to the freedom I have during the summer, which is definitely not a positive thing. However, school also means I get to see my friends every day, and learn new things, which can be interesting. Unfortunately, this point of view didn’t last long.

A couple of weeks into the school year and I am already physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted. Now, while I haven’t ever exactly loved having to go to school, I have never hated it nearly this much before. The reason? Homework!!!

Homework, for the most part, increases every year. In elementary school you get very little to no homework. In middle school, you get some, but having to bring home a worksheet still seems like a lot of homework. Workload begins to really get worse in high school. By my sophomore year, I already felt as if I had an excess of homework. This year is my junior year, though, and I’m taking three Advanced Placement classes. I probably had almost this much homework last year, too, but not until the middle of the year, when I was used to doing schoolwork. Getting a whole lot of work at the beginning of the year is just overwhelming.

I’m not trying to say it’s anyone’s fault in specific. I don’t get a whole lot of homework in any one class. Combined, though, it’s a lot. I already spend seven hours a day in school. By the time I get home, I’d really rather spend my time on other things, rather than having an average of half an hour’s worth of homework per class. And even in class, when we’re busy correcting homework and answering questions about the homework, when do teachers have time to teach new material in an interesting way?

I feel homework should not be this emphasized in school. Sure, maybe it’s helpful for kids to do some things at home, by themselves, but do we really need this much of it? All it seems to do is stress kids out and make us lose sleep. Very few teenagers get the suggested eight to ten hours of sleep because we’re up late doing our homework. And the stress of trying to do all the work and understand it is even worse. Personally, I’ve noticed how much more easily I get angry since the school year started. I have a mainly friendly, easygoing personality in the summer, and with the start of the school year, it changes completely.

All in all, homework just isn’t worth it. Yet no one has managed to convince my teachers of this, so I’m stuck with doing the work they assign. Hopefully, I’ll make it through this school year without being too stressed out, and maybe I’ll even manage to enjoy some of itif I’m really lucky.

Editor’s note: Maggie Guter, 16, is a junior at Marquette Senior High School. She is a long time member of 8-18 Media and is also involved in in sailing, skiing and piano. Her parents are Jake Guter and Mary Doll of Marquette. 8-18 Media is a youth journalism program of the Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum. Through the program, teams of kids write news stories and commentaries on issues important to youth and about any good, or bad, things youth are up to. For more information call 906-226-7874, or email at 818mediaupcm@gmail.com.