Students and teachers are given holiday breaks for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and spring break. It is a time to relax and avoid anything that has to do with school. However, that does not always happen. Some teachers give students assignments the Friday before a long break, expecting students to complete it. Because of this, it is difficult to enjoy a break made for relaxing without thinking about how and when the work will be completed.
As stated in the MISD student handbook, teachers must “provide homework-free extended holidays.” Some teachers already have an agenda plan that is scheduled days in advance for their students, finding a sort of loophole through the policy.
AP World History teacher, Jennifer Swegler, says that students know what they need to do, so it is based on whether or not they want to do it.
“We’re instructed not really to [assign homework] that’s stated. They have a copy of the reading schedule and they will have a quiz when they get back from break, but it’s been given to them since the beginning of the school year. So they know when their quiz is. Parents have been informed of the said readings. It’s up to the kids whether or not they’re gonna read over that break,” said Swegler.
Junior Madison Turman however feels this sentiment leads to some students feeling overwhelmed and uneasy about their impending break.
“I stress out about every little thing. It takes me a long time just to do my normal homework, this just adds to the pressure,” said Turman.
Swegler thinks though assigning homework over break gives students an idea of what college is like and they should not be surprised when things are assigned at any given time.
“In college, you still have to read over break. Like if there is a Thanksgiving break, you still have assignments due when you get back. So it’s a good preparation for college. It’s just about the moderation of things. The issue with high school is you’re taking eight classes at a time, whereas college, your’re taking less at a time,” said Swegler.
However junior Kasra Kolyaei doesn’t think the long term benefits out weight the short term effects.
“It makes me angry when I have work to do over break. It is my time to relax, and not stress. If I get work, I feel it kind of sends the message that the teacher doesn’t care about my mental health,” said Kolyaei.
Personally, a holiday break allows me to spend quality time with my family and friends. Although it may still be possible to do so, working over holiday makes me feel obligated to rest less and work more.
Algebra II and statistics teacher, Tiffany Neelley, says that she does not assign students homework, because she thinks students deserve a break and they are are able to work harder when they come back.
“I feel like I’d want to enjoy my break, so I want the students to as well. When they come back from break, they’re ready to enjoy and more rested. Sometimes when you don’t have a break, you just kind of get burned out; so I want them to have a break so they’re ready to learn when they get back,” said Neelley.
Junior Jacquelyn Evans appreciates that some teachers recognize the importance of giving students some time off.
“I always feel overwhelmed over break. Thanksgiving is a big travel holiday for my family, and we are really busy. That’s why I usually don’t do any work over break,” said Evans.
After working consistently on schoolwork, students can become more stressed. I personally agree with what Neelley’s perspective. I think students will be more alert and pay better attention when they are not tired. Time away from school let’s students forget about their class rank or whether or not their teacher has updated their grades in Skyward. Another reason teachers should hold back on holiday assignments is for the students who travel. Most students would not want to take their giant backpack filled with textbooks and homework on the plane or on a long-distance car ride and try to complete it.
Junior, Shekinah Agcaoila says that the point of a break is not about school, but about quality time with family members.
“On Thanksgiving breaks, it literally says ‘break.’ It’s time to spend time with your family and relatives you haven’t seen for a long time. And for teachers, I don’t think they want to check work or grades,” says Agcaolia.
When students are not in class to receive an assignment, they might just have to complete it during a time they usually wouldn’t. Neelley also says that it is reasonable to assign students homework when they are not caught up in their schoolwork, due to their absence.
“Students that are behind, I think it will benefit them because they have more time to work through the problems. Also, it could benefit students that lose some of the knowledge while they’re gone, they forget things, so it could just refresh their memory,” said Neelley.
If teachers are going to assign work over the holidays, it should not be overdone because breaks are given for a reason. I believe it is time to take your mind off school stress and relax a bit. I would most likely procrastinate doing the work because it is not something that makes me excited. While it is true, homework over long breaks keep your memory fresh, I still think students deserve a work-free break.