Almost every Wednesday during the school year Gull Lake High School students have from 8:38 to 9:18 to work on homework, participate in an extracurricular or simply take a breather. For busy students these short 40 minutes help them to catch up on schoolwork, but it’s not enough.
On average Gull Lake High School students wake up at about 6 a.m., so they can arrive for first block by 7:30 a.m. We go through five different classes where teachers give us several in-class assignments along with the much dreaded homework.
At promptly 2:20 p.m., students rush to every school door and pile into cars so that they can make it to work, sports, clubs or even just their houses to start their after-school responsibilities.
According to the US News, high school students are assigned 17.5 hours of homework on average per week, or roughly 3.5 hours a night. It’s probably fair to state that teachers at Gull Lake assign more than the average high school.
Although the provided 40 minutes in Seminar is helpful, it’s not enough time to help students make a dent in 17.5 plus hours of homework. Just expanding seminar to twice a week would allow students more time to work on homework or give clubs more time to complete its tasks.
Students who work after school or participate in sports could spend Seminar with clubs. The 40 minutes is not enough time to discuss the problems at hand let alone work on activities. Time is also portioned out during the weeks that teachers or counselors must introduce class business or technology updates in seminar. It takes away from the already limited time.
For the graduating class of 2022 and the following grades, seminar will be a time students are able to use to work on their Genius Hour projects. These projects are for students who have downtime. We wonder just how much time students will have to work on this worthwhile activity. We propose that 40 minutes a week is not enough time for students to complete them and school work.
When we transition into high school, students are used to the advisory time and find that they have a lot more homework and a lot less class time to do it. Gull Lake Middle School offers a 20 minute advisory (seminar) everyday for students. High schoolers workload is much more rigorous.
The 40 minutes that make up Seminar may be spent in a club, completing homework, or working on the Genius Hour project, depending on the lives of the teenagers outside of school. Regardless how students spend this time, it would benefit our student body to have a longer or a more frequent Seminar. Nonetheless, no matter how the students spend it, a block of time for students will forever remain helpful for stressed high school students.
- Cheryl Jolin is the adviser of The Reflection and Gull Lake High School’s yearbook publications for 16 years. In addition, she teaches English, Writing for the Press and AP Literature with a Master's in Journalism from MSU.
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