Written by Maggie Hatt
In many classes throughout different high schools, in all different areas of study, teachers stress the fact that they are implementing college level curriculum and rigor in a high school setting. The idea of preparing students, by giving them a demanding workload and experience “typical” of the college level, is enticing, however- when taken in context- the heavy workload and fast-paced classes can be a struggle to keep up with, primarily due to the rigidity of the schedule we follow.
In theory, the idea of college level classes being taught in a high school environment is good, and while I do advocate for a challenging curriculum, sometimes it seems as though the curriculum has been planned in a way that fails to account for daily life as a high school student. We spend seven or more hours each weekday dedicated to three or four or five classes, unlike many college environments in which a student would attend one or two classes a day for two or three hours. Without the free time that comes between those classes, or the intervals in which they occur (instead of every other day, they’re, say, twice a week) it’s extremely challenging to balance all of the work, especially when so many students are also involved in clubs, sports, or have a job. Yes, plenty of college students have jobs that they work and are also involved in other activities, but they are also in charge of planning their class schedule, and free time can be tailored more uniquely to each student. In high school, students must balance classes with sports or clubs or a job, and still be able to complete all of their classwork in accordance with the teacher’s expectations; this is extremely difficult to do. Often we want to be able to spend time with friends and family as well, and that time can be cut into by the immense amount of work required outside of class.
Many students also choose to take more than one “college-level” course, whether is be designated as “AP”, “honors”, or “dual-credit”, which can increase the burden- sorry, responsibility- even further. It is always good to want a challenge when it comes to learning, and incorporating college style rigor is one way to do this, however, I don’t think that this always accomplishes what it was originally put in place to do. Students get overworked and overwhelmed, and can even become burnt out from all of the time they spend on homework outside of the classroom. In the long run, this potential burn-out could be more damaging to a student’s curiosity and will to learn than it is beneficial to their college preparedness.
Categories: School News