Why high schools need breaks in between each grading period

February 20, 2017

One hundred and eighty days of a student’s year is spent at school. One hundred and eighty days of slamming the 6:20 alarm clock, contemplating being late for just 10 more minutes of sleep. One hundred and eighty days of running on four hours of sleep to do homework. One hundred and eighty days of stressful tests and dirty classrooms. We are “blessed” with 15 days of winter and spring break, and an occasional day off of school for a holiday or teacher work day. These breaks are needed to help sustain our mental health. Longer breaks in between each quarter would give us a longer stretch of a break to recuperate after a long nine weeks of school.

According to Nationwidechildrens.org, the average student only gets about seven hours of sleep when the expected sleep cycle for teenagers is about nine hours. With school starting at 7:20 a.m., students would have to go to sleep at around 9:30 p.m. to achieve the healthy amount of sleep. For many students, having after school activities and homework, this bedtime is almost impossible to reach every night.

Students need a break from the sleep deprivation caused by this early starting time. We need time to catch up on all the sleep lost during the school weeks. After puberty, teenagers begin to naturally fall asleep two hours later than they were before. Once easily falling asleep at 9:00, producing a full healthy state with the starting time of school, would become a bedtime of 11:00 resulting in only about six hours of sleep. It is essential to have breaks from this unhealthy cycle.

Stress is almost inevitable for a high school student. The standards only rise for the future years ahead and the pressure only intensifies. Winter, spring and summer break have proven to give students a much deserved window of relaxation. It is a difficult transition from a school mindset to one for break. By the time a student finally has a glimpse of a free mind, it is almost time to return to the hard-working mind school entails. With our breaks mostly consisting of only two days for the weekend, our break time is short. With more breaks, these transitions can be much smoother.

Past what break does to the mental stamina of a student, it gives time for doctor’s appointments, family time and other unrelated school activities that would either have to be avoided or result in missing school time. According to attendanceworks.org, 7.5 million students miss at least 10 percent of school every year. With doctors appointments, mysterious illnesses or much needed family vacations, it is nearly impossible for a student not to miss a day of school.

These absences lead to a worsened academic performance amongst the students who miss this learning time. With more breaks from school, there would be more time to have the necessary appointments and family time. Students need this extra time to continue a life separate from school.

With a break between each quarter of the school year, that lasts longer than a day, students can finally receive the much needed relaxation after a tough nine weeks. If the occasional teacher work day was removed to maintain the required one hundred and eighty day school year, it would be understandable. Having a week off four times a year would give us the much needed fuel to tackle the next quarter.

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