Stress Among Students

Recent Workload and the Toll It’s Taking on Students and Staff

Emily DiGiacomo and Chayse Dube

Students dove head first into the 2020 school year, but with new hybrid conditions that are being faced, some are struggling to get through the work stacking up. Additional stress from the pandemic has been added to the mix while students try to maintain a healthy balance between social and academic life. 

A questionnaire was sent out to the student body on Wednesday, October 8th. The Google form asked general questions based upon the recent homework load after going remote. 

“I feel like that’s definitely where Pinkerton’s lacking- providing their students with the motivation and drive to actually get the work done,” senior Anastacia Richardi said. ”Of course, a lot of that has to come from within each student, but I think that if we focused a little more on not the amount of work we’re doing, but the quality of work, it would be a lot better for everyone.”

The majority of students have felt an increase in the amount of assignments both in class and after school. Because there is typically a two day gap to complete work for each class, homework is often put off until the last minute. This procrastination leads to a buildup of pressure and responsibility.

“It takes a long time for me to get in the headspace to be prepared to work,” Richardi explained. “I think that’s where a lot of the frustration comes in with homework, for me anyway.”

Results from the poll concluded that out of 522 responses, the vast majority of students were spending anywhere from 2-5 hours a night on homework. Out of the remaining answers, a percentage accomplished this task in less than 2 hours, while a smaller amount spent over 6 hours each night. 

“Like an hour or two probably.” said Crescnezi when asked about the average amount of time spent on homework after school. “I normally get homework on the weekends. I’d say anywhere from 2 to 5 hours.”

Despite the fact that students are home, many are beginning to feel the repercussions of the virus and the effect it’s had on the school system more than ever. Learning from home took away a major part of students’ social lives and disrupted daily routines. 

“We didn’t really have a lot of time to adapt to the remote learning schedule at the end of last year,” Richardi said. “I feel like all of that stress and frustration – there was a lot of anger – all of that buildup carried on into this school year.” 

Some students find that working from home is not always accommodating to the requirements demanded for proper concentration. This, in turn, is adding to the workload and leaving less time available for afterschool activities. 

“I don’t want to blame it all on remote learning,” Richardi said. “But it definitely has decreased my social life. I have very little time to do things outside of school work.”

Students are not alone when it comes to feeling overwhelmed. Teachers have been working to fulfill and continue the “flipped classroom” technique. This is where time in class is focused on pupil engagement and active involvement, while time at home is spent on passive study.

“Teachers are really trying to squeeze all of the value out of our time with students,” English Department Head Mrs. Jyoti Demian said. “I wonder if we are assigning more of those background tasks and doing less of that passive learning in class than we used to.”

With college scouts already on campus, graduation doesn’t seem that far off. This may be a stress factor for some and a teaching obstacle to overcome for educators. 

“Teachers are doing a balancing act,” Demian said. “We want to prepare students so that they’re ready for college or the next level of school, but also so that they’re not feeling completely overwhelmed all of the time.”

The ability to work intently throughout the school day is seemingly getting more challenging, especially when remote. Staring at a screen for seven hours, only to continue to do online homework for however much longer is becoming a chore that not many can handle well. 

“Unless you’re super organized and driven,” Demian said. “It can be really hard to discipline yourself to keep working throughout the period.”

With the increase buildup of homework, other options that can help alleviate the workload and stress are in the process of being brainstormed.

“Giving us more control over how we learn” was Crescenzi’s answer when asked if there are any possible solutions to lighten school work. “If you need a (Google) Meet, you can go to it. But if the meets not a help to you, you shouldn’t necessarily be forced to- unless it’s required information.” 

As the school returns to full remote from December through the new year, students will have to face the same challenges that were present during the end of October. Little social interaction and an increase in online learning can prove arduous to some.

“I think that during full remote, there is a lot less of a drive to do things because you remove being able to see people and talk with them,” said Crescenzi when giving his input on remote learning.

Staff members of each department come together two times a week in groups called PLCs. These meetings are used to discuss assignments and align classrooms in similar ways. Communication between teachers and students is helpful because information of distress can be relayed to these conferences and a change can be explored. 

“Aside from just making sure you’re doing your work during class, I would really advise first- and I always ask kids ‘have you talked to your teacher about this?’” Demian said. “Maybe ask your teacher if he or she could talk to the department head or the other teachers in their PLC to get some feedback.” 

Remote learning is new for not only students, but an adjustment for educators as well. While everyone fumbles with the change that Covid-19 imposed, kindness and understanding should be kept in mind.

“I really want students to know that teachers have their best interest in mind,” Demian concluded. “Students should always feel free to come to their teachers with concerns about homework so that the teacher can help balance it out.”