The Horrors of Summer Work
September 20, 2022
My last exam for the 2021-2022 school year was on Thursday, May 26th. I was super excited for a summer full of sun and fun. On June 7th, a schoology message from Mrs. Beckrich changed it all. At 4:59pm, Mrs. Beckrich informed all the upper school students that it is time “to begin your summer assignments.” My heart dropped. My summer was ruined. It was time to spend hours upon hours a week for the rest of the summer on academic work. Even worse, this summer I had due dates, which meant that I couldn’t procrastinate my work until the weekend before school starts. Why does the school do this to us?
For starters, not all teachers give us summer work. For example, Dr. Vick, the teacher of AP physics, doesn’t “see the benefit” of giving summer work to her AP classes. She believes that she would “spend more class time going over” the work than would be beneficial. Also, in my high school career, I have never had math or science summer work. When returning to those classes in august, I have never felt behind and always am able to understand what the teachers are talking about.
However, some teachers do see benefits of summer work. Mr. Wilkie, our school’s pre-cal teacher, assigned summer work for the first time this year. He believes that students “don’t remember” important topics when returning to class in the fall. He hoped that his summer work would better “bridge the gap” between the end and start of school. The whole math department started giving summer work to all their honor classes this past summer. The department as a whole clearly saw a discrepancy between people’s understanding of math from the end to the start of the next school year.
Students at CCES overwhelmingly dislike summer work. Some phrases they used to describe it are “******* blows,” “tedious,” “pointless,” “doesn’t prepare me for the school year,” etc. I agree with them for the most part. When summer work turns into busy work, it is pointless. Students put in as little effort as possible in the work and don’t retain any useful information from it. What really made me mad about summer work this year was due dates.
In two of my classes, I had due dates for my work. I had to turn in essays and short answer questions by the end of June, July, and August. The second my summer began, I had to start working.
The summer is supposed to be for fun and for relaxing. Having due dates ruins it and it also takes away the independence that CCES students are supposed to have. As a highschool student, I should be able to choose when to do my summer work. For me personally, my June is hellish. I have lacrosse practice and games almost every day. There is no time for work.
However, this summer I was forced to complete tons of work in the few spare movements that I had. The work that I did was atrocious and I did not retain any useful information. Other CCES students also agree that due dates aren’t the best way to assign summer work. CCES senior, Charlotte Fridy, says that “deadlines aren’t fair.” I agree with her completely. During the summer, CCES high school students should be able to choose when to do their summer work.
However, I do see the benefits of summer work in certain classes. In Spanish, I always have to present an oral presentation within the first week of school. In order to do this, I am forced to re-learn the complicated Spanish grammar and vocab which helps me adjust to speaking Spanish every day in school. Señor Greer, the AP Spanish teacher, believes that the “presentations set tone for the year” and that making people do the work over the summer provides “cognitive benefits.” I tend to agree with his logic and so do other students. Thomas Clark, a senior, says that “Spanish is a skill which is good to practice often.”
In any English class, when students have to read boring books that they do not enjoy, they definitely do not become better readers. They try to fly through the reading and do not gather any information. In my opinion, teachers should allow students to choose what books they want to read. This would lead to students reading more and consequently becoming better readers, which should be the main goal of any English class.
In any math class, a small packet of only the most necessary concepts should be the extent of their summer work. Doing this would have students more prepared for the school year while not overwhelming them with 100 problems.
Summer work is annoying and definitely tedious. However, it could be helpful if it’s done right. The model and logic that Señor Greer follows should be what all teachers follow. He doesn’t add any unnecessary work and any student of his agrees that his summer work is helpful.