By Rachel Kirzhner and Elizabeth Lipov, Midwood High School at Brooklyn College
Stress and more stress! That’s all you see around Midwood High School these days. Students are fed up from the excessive amount of homework, schoolwork, and pressure from parents and most importantly… from teachers.
Have you ever come out of class wanting to cry? Fought with a teacher? Felt like you could not handle the pressure? Many students, whether they are in LASI, Med-Sci, or the Humanities program feel that way.
According to Mr. Tovia Rosenfeld, the Biology assistant principal, teachers give students stress by giving homework and grades. Some teachers call parents to complain about student performance.
“School definitely causes the most stress in my life,” said Lindsey Pero ’13. “Teachers sometimes make tests seem impossible, so that even if you do study, you feel like it was a waste of time and you’re less likely to be motivated to study the next time.”
Sophia Katsitadze ’13 said, “School is definitely one of the major stress factors in my life. Junior year, homework, papers, tests, regents and the SATs, preparation and attempts to boost my transcript average all add up to sleepless nights, worrying about whether I’ll have enough time to complete assignments and whether my work is good enough or not.”
Just because some students are in advanced classes, doesn’t mean that they are the only ones who are stressed. LASI students also feel pressured at times.
“I think the LASI teachers judge kids by their looks and what program they’re in,” said Kemal Ozturk ’14. “Just because we’re in a lower class and wear pants below our butts doesn’t mean we are kids who don’t care about school. I feel that teachers should give us kids a chance. In Med-Sci, I doubt teachers don’t give you a chance to explain yourself.”
“I think that most of the stress in my life is caused by school and trying to get good grades,” said Jessica Tolichinskiy ’14. “Each teacher expects something different. Sometimes it is hard to keep up with all the homework, tests and projects they assign. Teachers stress me out when they don’t thoroughly explain something and expect me to understand,” she added.
The pupils tend to complain to their friends because they feel their peers can calm them and are always there for support. They’re all dealing with the same situations and look at each other as guides.
Alina Lifshits ’13 said she sees students literally going crazy about school and how much work teachers assign. She feels that they don’t realize students have other classes that give a lot of work too.
According to Mr. Rosenfeld, students have seven classes and each teacher tends to give homework that takes up an hour or more to complete. He believes that teachers should cut back on homework that is just busy work. For example, it doesn’t make sense to him for teachers to ask students to rewrite questions because it is a waste of time. In addition, he also believes that there should be less memorization but more of applying specific concepts to questions. Rosenfeld said teachers who give questions from past regents as homework for just 20 minutes will prepare students for the regents.
Lifshits added, “ My peers complain to me all the time. I even have people cry to me and tell me that they can’t do it anymore and they sometimes they stop caring. I feel like teachers want the best for their students, but they need to go a little bit easier on them because they don’t only have one subject to worry about; there are about 7 classes per day that students have to think about succeeding in.”
According to guidance counselor Kendra Lane, students have many responsibilities and pressure on them from all different areas of life.
“Of course most of what I hear are complaints because some kids are lazy and they think that the teachers are just picking on them or just giving them too much work,” said Lane. “I personally feel that it’s important to have communication with your teachers. A lot of kids don’t like their teachers so they don’t want to speak with them. Be able to talk to them because they might want to know what’s going on. They’re humans and they’ll understand and they can be more sensitive. They are willing to work with you.”
There are a variety of ideas that can help students get along with their teachers.
Katsitadze suggested students go their teachers during their free periods for help. According to her, it doesn’t matter how much you don’t like them because at the end of the day he or she is still your teacher no matter what. She also felt that when teachers give projects, they should have check-ups to make sure the child isn’t leaving everything for the last night.
Mr. Rosenfeld said students need to prioritize their activities and give important things such as studying for tests precedence over fun things such as texting. Studying for tests should rank higher than listening to music after school.
“Students should make a list and be aware when everything is due and not procrastinate. They should also talk to the teacher in advance if they are having problems keeping up with the work. If you wait until you have dug yourself into a hole, then it is much harder to get out,” said Ms. Catherine Kaczmarek, English and Journalism teacher.
Pero said, “Some teachers tell their students the homework for the entire week or beyond, and this allows the student to plan out their assignments and make good use of their time. If you have a little extra time one day, you can get more done.”
Tips to reduce stress:
Learn how to manage your time
If you need help, don’t be afraid to ask your teachers or peers
Get organized with the help of the new Midwood High School planners
Learn to prioritize; if you know you have work to do, don’t hang out with friends
Get a good night’s sleep and have a healthy breakfast