A student walks into the math area and asks to reschedule a test because they didn’t get enough sleep. Another student talks to their biology teacher asking for an extension on their lab because they ran out of time even though they were given a week to finish it. The excuses keep piling on until it seems that every student has an excuse as to why they couldn’t finish their work. St. Paul Academy and Summit school’s leniency on late work and unfinished assignments is too often taken advantage by the students. Students at SPA need to start finishing their work and completing tests the day that it is due. Not only is not finishing work only hindering self progress at a very competitive school, but it is also not setting students up well for either college or real life situations.
Accountability is necessary in these situations. If a student was to go to a teacher and attempt to get out of a homework assignment and be told that it will not be accepted late or that it will lose points, then that student can not be angry at that teacher. The students who don’t finish their work on time can only be angry at themselves for not finishing their own work. The teacher didn’t choose to skip out on that assignment, the teacher didn’t choose how that student decided to spend their time. The student and only the student is the one who decides these things. Instead of walking away from a meeting with a teacher and being angry that late work won’t count the same as work on time, students must accept the consequence of not having their work in on time. One missing homework isn’t going to ruin the rest of the school year for any student, but it is something to learn from.
A common trend at SPA is constant complaining about work loads. There is one simple solution to this: finish the work. Why spend time complaining about that “really long” math assignment or that “stupid” English paper when one can just finish it? At many points throughout a day at SPA it seems that students are complaining to their peers more than doing the work itself. This isn’t because it actually is too much work, this is because there is a culture around SPA where complaining gets things done.
Undoubtedly this is not the case. If a student has four classes in one day with homework for each class, which for most students at SPA isn’t the case, and each homework assignment takes forty-five minutes that’s three hours. That is just less than 13% of a twenty-four hour day. If one is to go to sleep at 9 pm and wake up at 6 am and go to one two hour long practice of some sort with an hour long dinner, it leaves exactly three hours. This is obviously very circumstantial, but it is still a lot of time. Why waste that time complaining about the work that needs to get done instead of doing it?
SPA doesn’t only give students time to finish their work at home, but there is a fair amount of time in school where students can finish their work. Including at least one free period for every student, there is also thirty-five minute tutorials four out of the five days of the week, and normally three x-periods a week where work can be finished. This time should be used for meeting with teachers if necessary, but it can also be utilized to finish any remaining or future work.
The one thing that shouldn’t be done during these free periods is wasting a student’s own time. This translates into more time at home, which is also very valuable. If students can finish as much of their work as they can at school, that just gives them more time to do what they want outside of it. But unless that work is done by the time students are home, they need to not be distracted by things like Netflix or just procrastinating in general.
This isn’t a problem with teachers or the overall regulations at SPA, this is a student problem. The teachers at SPA are very generous when it comes to situations like these, but that’s not something that deserves to be exploited. There are definitely some extensions that are just fine, like family emergencies or being out sick.
But when in college or in a work situation, there won’t be any extensions, there won’t be any late assignments accepted, there won’t be any quarter given. That’s how the students at SPA need to feel now. Even though it is still high school and the rules aren’t the same, that is no reason to breeze through high school like it’s nothing. These are the years that set up a foundation for the future, everyone at SPA needs to absorb and act upon that idea.