Student Apathy or Student Exhaustion?


There is no doubt that some students at Mountain Vista High School (or at any high school for that matter) are apathetic towards the work that they do in and for school.

Too many times you’ll see teachers upset because their students don’t care about what they’re learning or because they aren’t attentive enough in class.

This is partially due to the fact that teenagers do tend to stay up late and wake up even later when given the opportunity.

Despite this, 86 percent of high schools in the United States still start before 8:30 a.m. while 40 percent overall even start before 8:00 a.m.

Mountain Vista is among the 86 percent four out of the five days of the week. It’s also a part of the 40 percent every Monday, Tuesday and Friday.

Understanding that schools start early so that they can end early, it would seem that pushing back school start times still might be the right thing to do.

497374910_9ae0f0adfa_zMany students who don’t get enough sleep are negatively affecting their health. Sleep deprivation can lead to many illnesses, both mental and physical. Students suffer from many ailments whether it be depression, sleep apnea or obesity.

Studies have shown that delaying school start times could lead not only to better health but also to better overall grades and higher standardized test scores.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has explicitly called for schools to push back start times to 8:30 a.m. to allow students to obtain not eight, but eight-and-a-half to nine-and-a-half hours of sleep.

The statement released accounted for many things the 86 percent of schools starting before 8:30 a.m. did not. For one, it was obviously not taken into account that teenaged students biologically change their sleep routine due to habits associated with puberty.

Aside from that, the most obvious of all reasons for sleep deprivation is the massive academic demands placed on students. An average MVHS student would say their homework takes 3.8 hours out of their night each day.

“The new schedule [Vista] has implemented gives me even more homework due in a shorter amount of time when compared to last year,” one anonymous MVHS student said.

“I literally spend more time on my homework than I do sleeping most nights,” stated another student. From the survey they filled out, it is apparent that they spend an average of six hours on homework a night while sleeping for only five hours on the weekdays.

All in all, students also have said that they obtain an average of less than seven hours of sleep a night.

When surveyed, 80 percent of students said school should start later. Many students even replied that we should start at or after 8:30 a.m.

So if teachers really want higher amounts of attentiveness and for students to show consideration every waking moment of the seven-hour school day, there will have to be major reforms in our schedule.

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