South students plea for remote learning leniency as district reaches second quarter


Staff Editorial

Hours upon hours spent completing homework; at least, that’s what the South student population says is an after-school pressure. The pandemic has created complex dynamics that have no direct answer. Yet, a degree of leniency and understanding should be kept in the teacher’s minds before pinning multiple assignments or new projects to the Google Classroom bulletin board.
When summer came to an end, District 202 made the decision to return to school remotely until they could have students and staff return back safely. In the original plan, the district highlighted their policy that students should not be assigned more than fifteen minutes of homework per class each day (not including AP and honors classes). However, after polling 270 South students, it was found that 48-percent of students say they spend about more than two hours on their homework after school. Comparatively, 44 percent of students polled say they spent about one hour on homework during a regular, pre-COVID, school year and 27 percent say they spent only 30 minutes or less completing their after school assignments during the regular school year.
“Some teachers like to assign more homework than usual, due to the fact we are online. Things have been very difficult since we started,” said Mike Maloney, senior. While difficulties with homework have arisen, students report the opposite in contact with their teachers.
Although we are not face to face, remote learning allows for easier communication between staff and students. With many using the Remind app or GroupMe, 74 percent of polled students say there is an open line of communication between staff and students. Students mention they appreciate how understanding their teachers have been in terms of technology issues and other remote learning setbacks.
“They understand that sometimes our internet dies, and so we’re going to be late for class or have to turn in an assignment late, and I think it’s because it’s online learning, which is completely new to most of us,” said Katie Steinkirch, junior.
Zooming from a bed or kitchen table is very different from the typical classroom setting. While in a physical classroom, students may find it easier to pay attention; however, 70 percent of students say that remote learning has impeded their ability to stay on track. Students said there are less distractions and with their teacher in the same room there is more accountability to stay on task.
Due dates serve an equal possibility of offsetting a student’s daily schedule or posing a tranquil journey through coursework. However, 52-percent of the sampled students say teachers do not give them enough time while 48-percent say the dates are manageable. When students do not have adequate time to analyze and complete assignments, the situation goes beyond the Dell laptop screen and transfers into their daily lives. They feel overwhelmed with assignments that pile up and see their own time to relax and decompress restricted.
Students at South take advanced or honors classes which require a graduated attention. As assignments collide in due dates it becomes a stressful situation of deciding which class to focus on over the other in order to save a letter grade. Similarly to the split between students deeming due dates inadequate or manageable, sampled students report having extra responsibilities outside of school.
52-percent of surveyed students currently have a job. According to students, some stay up into the wee hours of the morning to complete assignments, one going as far as 3 a.m. Others say their schedules have become shorter, taking hours much later into the evening rather than their earlier afternoon starts right after school.
Responsibility plays a key role in balancing schoolwork and other activities, though students already sit and stare at a laptop screen for nearly five hours each day. That is not to neglect the significance of the matter and how it benefits control of COVID-19 in communities, though the unique workload associated with classes abysmally impacts each student on an individual basis.
Factoring in employment and perhaps other extracurricular activities such as sports or clubs, a student sees their plate mighty full with responsibilities. School faculty should take into consideration influences that draw on a student’s attention outside of school.
In order to meet the complexity of current circumstances, it’s best to provide leniency to a struggling crowd of students and families.
Leniency can come in the form of setting clear standards regarding homework and assignments, effectively limiting most work to instructional time.
Leniency can manifest in spaced out due dates so students can budget their time for classes accordingly. Leniency can also be found in communication between teachers to separate quizzes, tests, and assignments in order to alleviate pressure on students.
We want the best for our students at South, right? Please take our pleas seriously.