Too Much Work?

[caption id="attachment_476" align="aligncenter" width="432" caption="Germaine Fung '11 sits in distress as she studies for an upcoming math test."]Germaine Fung '11 sits in distress as she studies for an upcoming math test.[/caption] Jared Levin Editorials Editor What length would you go to in order to gain a competitive edge in school?  When walking through the hallways at Latin, one will probably come across a student catching up on missed work, doing homework, or cramming for an upcoming test.  Latin is a very academically rigorous school.  In other words, school is constantly on the minds of students and faculty.  Yes, succeeding in school is a challenge one should take wholeheartedly, but at what cost?  Should students pull all-nighters? Skip a meal with the family?  Take a performance-enhancing drug? Cheat?  Currently, in today’s economy it seems as though education is becoming a more prominent investment tool. Parents and others are placing more and more pressure on students to succeed, and sometimes these students are pushed to limits that they have never considered before. In order to complete an assignment or get a good grade, students at Latin may find themselves cheating.  Wilson Brehmer, a sophomore, said, “Cheating is inevitable for high school students.  It is unrealistic to think that it can be prevented.”  But why?  Why has cheating become rampant at a school like ours that is filled with intelligent minds clearly capable of completing work on their own?  The answer is simple.  The amount of homework that teachers give, along with the amount of outside work that students take on themselves is proving to be too much. An anonymous senior said, “Teachers have a responsibility to give a reasonable workload and fair assignments so that cheating doesn’t become the only solution available to students.”  Lets say that a teacher thinks that it is reasonable to assign thirty minutes of homework a night.  Now, lets assume that all of a student’s teachers believe that thirty minutes fair.  The next day is a day three and a student has seven of their classes.  This means that the night before the student should have an estimated three hours and thirty minutes of homework.  To add on to this load, the student needs to study for a test and finish a paper.  Overall, the amount of work that this particular student needs to perform could be up to five or six hours.  Now adding in extracurricular activities, sports, and meals, this student may be finding himself or herself staying up to all hours of the night. In the hallways at Latin it is not an uncommon story for someone to say that he or she pulled an all-nighter or stayed up to late hours of the night to finish a paper or study for a test. This lifestyle of staying up all night doing work is not one that teenagers want to do most nights of the week. In order to lessen the amount of time it takes to complete homework another anonymous senior said that, “Students will sometimes take something from a paper online and incorporate it into their essays so that it will go by faster and get done easier.” If a student feels that they need to get all of their work done, and does not want to stay up all night, he or she might look favorably upon cheating in order to get their work done at a faster rate.  Some might even argue that students are being pushed into situations where cheating becomes very alluring.  Ian Marshall, a senior said, “If teachers better understood that at a certain point their students were being forced into situations where academic dishonesty becomes more appealing, than they would probably re-evaluate the workload they assign.”  But would teachers honestly cut down on they workload they give if they found out that it was causing students to cheat? In response to this question, Dylan Levin, a sophomore responded, “No, I do not feel that teachers would lower the amount of work they assign to decrease the amount of cheating at Latin.  Cheating will always occur, regardless of the amount of work students receive.”  If students don’t believe that teachers will cut down on the amount of work that they give, how can he or she stray away from cheating? The answer is communication and knowing one’s limits. Ian also stated that, “Cheating becomes an issue only when teachers and students have a failure to communicate.” If a student knows that their homework load is heavy on a given night, he or she should talk to their teachers about getting an extension.  Most of the teachers at Latin are understanding of this.  If one finds themselves struggling to complete all of his or her homework without cheating, then cutting back on after school activities may be the answer.  If you are not clear with the rules on cheating, please turn to your academic handbook for rules. ]]>