Workloads are the problem; here’s the solution SHA must adopt


by Achilles Kraus


For many students, the struggle of too much work and too little time is all too common. We all have gone through the stress of due dates that were seemingly impossible. But, as a student who just recently transferred into SHA, I can say that this school is on the heavier side of workloads, and teachers and administrators leave much of the weight on the students. I have felt this in my time management. Finding time for all the work has become an issue, and I know many students around me have responsibilities outside the school, making the time pressure even worse.

    The result: student stress, negative physical health, and negative emotional health.

Some of the expectations for the times they set on work are too high. They have to understand somewhere in between us and the teachers we need to meet in the middle.”

— Ivan Nunez

The school and its system are mainly to blame because of the very little time students have to complete the very large workload. While this is a school for honors students, there must be a balance between work and mental health. I have experienced this in the past, losing hours of sleep stressing over an assignment due on top of a project due on top of an essay. The work builds up and leads students to crash when they cannot mentally handle all of the strain. Giving the students longer due dates, or lessening the workload would lower stress levels and would make school more manageable for students.

The problem is clear: Tower, the award-winning student newspaper of  The Masters School in Dobbs Ferry, New York conducted a survey in which 148 upper school students participated:43 percent say they have more work than expected, and 20 percent said they have too much work. In our student survey conducted on March 8-9, the data pointed to a similar problem: 44 percent of students at SHA stated that they did not have enough time to complete their work, and of those 44 percent, 78 percent experienced symptoms of stress due to their unmanageable workload.

“In some classes, there is more work we get than in others, but the amount of time we get just isn’t enough to complete the amount they give us,” said Ivan Nunez, a sophomore. “Some of the expectations for the times they set on work are too high. They have to understand somewhere in between us and the teachers we need to meet in the middle.”

What Nunez said is absolutely right. There has to be a middle point where students and teachers can commute regarding their expectations as well as work.

A solution to this problem would be for the school to offer more time for students to complete work in school. The academic lab was extremely useful but it seems as though the opportunities for it are seeming less and less. Teachers could also provide extended due dates for projects. 

One other topic under debate is homework; the amount of homework given is too large to have the useful academic effect it is meant for. Homework is a useful tool, says Stanford University professor Denise Pope “as long as it is not assigned merely as a routine practice.” She notes that “many experts insist homework provides tangible academic benefits. But too much of it can heighten student stress, lead to sleep deprivation, and generally less time for family, friends, and activities.” 

One defense for high workloads and high amounts of homework is that stress can help students in many areas. “Research shows that positive stress can strengthen the immune system, enhance memory and learning, and improve decision-making skills,” says Renee Jain the founder of GoZen, an anxiety program for children. Stress can help students in certain situations and is a useful tool. But when the levels rise too high the students crash, and can no longer handle the big load of stress.

I know from my own experience the struggle of trying to complete all of the work assigned to me, on top of my many responsibilities at home it’s hard. Most nights I find myself staying up until 12 a.m just to get an hour of personal time, but right around the corner is my alarm to wake up at 5:30 a.m. and prepare for school. Doing this five times a week is draining and the only escape is the weekends. I know there are other people much busier than I with a lot more responsibilities, which makes it even more important that there is balance. It shouldn’t feel like dragging your brain through five days of school just to make it to the weekend. Work should be manageable enough to where you can balance work time with your own time without sacrificing your health.

As things are going now students’ motivation toward school will only continue to go down just as their stress levels will continue to rise. Change is necessary and it’s up to students to speak up for that change for the betterment of the school and its community.