Emmalynn VanDyke – Reporter

Advanced and AP students in grades 9-12 were given books to read over the summer months. Many students spent 40 or more hours completing these assignments.

Each spring, teachers give assignments to advanced and AP students to be completed during their summer break to prep for the next school year. Often times, students have jobs, camp, and other activities they participate in during the summer, so summer school work gets put at the bottom of the list of things to do.

  Depending on the teacher, the assignment may be reading a novel (or three) and then either writing an essay, taking notes, or completing a project to go along with it. Each assignment takes an indefinite amount of time. It all depends on the work involved and the effort of the student completing the work.

  “From starting the books to finishing the assignment, my summer reading took me an estimate of one month to complete,” freshman Caroline Gentry said.

  “It took me about one month to fully complete my summer work,” sophomore Lauren Lutrell said.

  The real issue is that students work enough during the year, so they should not have to stress about doing school work during their time “off” in the summer. It is called summer break, but teachers give students books and assignments, then expect them to complete them, which takes away from time students use to to relax and rejuvenate before the next year. Instead of being ready for the new school year, the end of July finds students tired, stressed and already on the verge of burnout.

  If people are like me when they do their summer assignments, they are not properly focused. According to many of my classmates, they are just simply trying to finish, so they can enjoy what is left of their summer break. If students are not truly focused on what they’re doing, are they really learning anything? If students aren’t really learning anything, is summer work truly beneficial?

  “I think I learned a little, but I didn’t learn as much as I could have. It was summer and I wasn’t focused,” sophomore Lynley McCullough said.

  The other issue with summer work is that there is no way to get a teacher’s help if you are confused. If you do not understand what you are told to complete, how are you supposed to do it? This creates unnecessary stress for many students who are worried about starting the school year off with a bad grade.  It would be much more helpful if assignments could be completed after school is back in session so students could get assistance if needed.

  Lastly, the summer work load becomes an even greater issue for students who are enrolled in multiple upper-level courses. Because summer work is assigned in most honors, AP, and dual English classes, as well as AP Government and AP U.S. History, many students end up with anywhere from two to four books to read and assignments to go along with each of those.  High expectations are important, but is it worth it to burn students out before they ever even make it back to school?

  Is summer work really worth it? Students are stressed trying to complete things around their summer schedules, parents are aggravated when their child does not finish, and teachers are frustrated when students do not turn them in (or when they do and teachers start the year off with 85 essays to grade). If students are not learning anything from their assignments, is it worth the stress on them, the parents, or the teachers?