Students need space, not stress, to thrive


Graphic by Hamadi Belghachi

Shirah Lister

Less than a decade ago, Wilson renovated the building, but somewhere along the line they forgot to renovate how they teach their students. The focus on homework and testing, among other things, has led to an enormous and sometimes unnecessary amount of stress.

During conversation, many students will casually mention their insomnia, anxiety, depression, and stress, and usually accredit it to school. It’s no secret that in D.C., teen psychology is an up and coming field. Have we ever wondered why?

As students, we receive almost no break from work, not to mention the constant pressure to take more advanced courses. We almost always have a new project due or a different‌ ‌homework assignment to turn in. 

With 42 percent of Wilson students enrolled in AP courses, it’s fair to say the competitive atmosphere here is no joke. Every day, students are attempting to find new ways to boost their college application, which can quickly become unhealthy. Although we have amazing resources like our social workers and guidance counselors, the support staff is overworked with around 2,000 students. Ultimately, when the problem is homework, it’s a problem that needs to be solved in the classroom.

It’s time for Wilson to take our mental health more seriously and consider how to help us balance our personal and academic lives. For starters, why not have no-homework weekends? Wilson could start with one weekend a month when teachers pledge to not assign homework. 

Some schools in Virginia and Maryland have stopped giving homework over certain breaks, which is something Wilson could institute as well. Giving students a break from their constant workload could prove to be beneficial. Finland, for example, has completely banned homework and has a 93 percent graduation rate, which is 18 percent higher than America’s.

By not receiving copious amounts of work over breaks, students are given much needed time to relax and unwind. It doesn’t necessarily mean students will stop doing work—it could mean that students spend time with their family or even read a novel. 

  Yet an issue remains, as some students naturally wouldn’t use their newfound free time for family activities or expanding their literary library. 

It’s not that homework isn’t important, as it is a way for teachers to reinforce classroom lessons and give students a chance to review, but sometimes homework becomes a crutch. Teachers begin using it as an easy way out for assessing how students are doing, but is homework the best and only way? What about utilizing and encouraging classroom discussions?

Of course, the burden is not only laid on teachers. If students really want less homework, we need to begin taking the classroom more seriously. 

Wilson should take the lead, but there is no question that school work should be a partnership between students and teachers.