Does school start too early?
June 4, 2018
School begins at just the right time
For the average high school student, school beginning at 7:50 a.m. is just the right time. Although many argue that this time is too early, it is a perfectly adequate time to begin the day.
Beginning school on the earlier side is better in the essence that students will be able to leave earlier. If school began at a later time, that means it would correspondingly end at a later time. Personally, I prefer to wake up earlier and go to school at an earlier time, then be dismissed at 2:54, because it leaves a majority of my afternoon free and open. The feeling of waking up early, accomplishing a great deal of work, and then having the ability to relax for the rest of the day is truly a rewarding feeling.
Another benefit of waking up early for school is that it increases productivity. As much as I do enjoy getting a good night’s sleep, I like having plenty time during the day to accomplish my goals. I am able to get work done at school for seven hours, then leave mid afternoon and have time to focus on my extracurricular activities and hobbies.
Going to school early and being dismissed somewhat early gives me time to focus on my interests outside of school. Having this time to focus on activities other than academics, has shaped me into the well rounded student I am today. Being a well rounded individual allows you to explore and grow outside of the classroom, because not everything can be learned while you’re in school.
The time that other schools begin in the surrounding area and across the nation don’t vary much from the time that our school starts. According to National Center for Education Statistics, the average time public high school begins across the nation is approximately 7:59 a.m., not much different from when we start the day.
On the contrary, school beginning too early is supported by the argument that teenagers do not get enough sleep. One could suggest that the lack of sleep is because of the amount of homework we’re assigned, but I find this is not the case. There have been very few times during my high school career that I’ve needed to stay up late at night to complete an assignment, and that is either due to procrastination or occupying a chunk of my afternoon with an extracurricular activity, which does not permit me to start my homework after school at a reasonable hour of the day. If students budget their time to get work done, they can easily get to sleep on time, and therefore get to school on time.
As a senior at the high school, I’ve been lucky enough to have an occasional option period first thing in the morning which allows me to sleep in an extra hour. I won’t lie, this is one of the best perks of being a senior. As much as I don’t mind waking up early to get to school, it is nice to be able to sleep in, and I can stay up later the night before.
Yet, if the senior privilege of being able to sleep in for option didn’t exist, then it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world going to school normal time because the time we start, isn’t really that big of a deal.
Let us sleep
The human body is an amazing machine. Unlike any other known organism in the universe it can create advanced ideas, sense emotion, communicate through language, and thousands of other incredible things.
So why are schools ridding teenagers of sleep, one of the only things the body asks in return?
Before the sun is even out, students are expected to be capable of learning new and complex ideas, retaining that information, and succeeding on grade altering exams. But when the morning bell rings at 7:50 a.m., students are far from awake.
In adolescence, the natural sleep cycle shifts. New hormones influence teens to naturally to both fall asleep and wake up late. Naturally, teenagers should be waking up at 8 a.m., yet school is already in session at this time.
Sleep deprivation can lead to concentration issues, substance abuse, depression, and car crashes.
Teenagers cannot alter their natural sleep patterns, but schools can and should adjust to their students basic health needs. If school started just a half hour later, students would be able to support their natural sleep cycle.
I get out of bed at 6:45 every morning, hours before my body is ready to wake up. I go through the motions of taking notes and writing essays during my morning classes, but without sleep, I’m not reaching my full potential. It shows in my grades, my classes in the morning are several points lower than my afternoon classes. If I had the chance to study and learn when my body was ready for it, I’m positive my work would be better.
Although the health of students should outweigh scheduling conflicts, it is one of the main factors preventing a later school start time.
With school starting later, administrators say that sports practices and games would have to be pushed later too, but this is not necessarily true. Reducing the one hour lunch period to a half hour would make up for the time lost in the morning.
It’s an incredibly easy solution and would make school more enjoyable for everyone. Students’ grades would go up because they would not be so tired and unmotivated to do work, especially in morning classes.
We have learned since we were children how important it is to keep our body healthy, yet schools are preventing us from doing that. A little hypocritical, don’t you think?