Stressing the issue of busy work

Henrik Vraanes

Throughout my time as a student, I have noticed that as I have progressed through school, there has been more and more homework. However, a lot of it is just busy work that doesn’t help me better understand the material. It feels as if homework is simply a waste of my time. Instead teachers should carefully assign necessary homework instead of giving assignments that become busy work. When teachers assign less homework to students, they will begin to feel less stress in their lives and begin to perform better in class and life.

When it comes down to stress, Healthline claims that “more than 70 percent of students said they were ‘often or always stressed over schoolwork,’ with 56 percent listing homework as a primary stressor.”

 This overwhelming statistic demonstrates the damage that homework overload can cause in a student’s life.

When students experience stress, it can lead to many different problems, including lack of focus and other mental health problems which can negatively impact a student’s well-being. 

Illustration by Gabby Levi

Joseph Lathan, a University of California San Diego (UCSD) professor, spoke to this sentiment. 

“Research showed that excessive homework is associated with high-stress levels, physical health problems, and lack of balance in children’s lives; 56 percent of the students in the study cited homework as a primary stressor in their lives,” Lathan said.

 This statistic further illustrates the burden that homework brings upon students, something that is harmful towards their mental health. Many Redwood students claim that homework is the most dominant form of anxiety in their lives. Even worse, homework loads can be changed by teachers themselves, meaning that the stress that students are dealing with is very preventable.

According to a 2023 Bark survey, 40 percent of Redwood students surveyed said they felt very stressed about homework. Additionally, 39 percent of students said their burnout and lack of motivation was due to unnecessary assignments. Both of these statistics give insight into students’ minds that deal with useless homework every day. Redwood teachers should make a change by filtering out all of the unnecessary homework assignments and instead give reduced and concise homework assignments that truly benefit students.

A student, teacher, or parent may argue that homework is helpful toward education, and thus busy work should be assigned to students every night. They may claim that this allows for further learning at home, including developing skills like time management, priorities, and effort. While these skills are all very important for the future of students, meaningless work being assigned for homework is not the way to do it. Students’ time could be better used for doing meaningful homework assignments that will further help them in the following class, along with building skills that are used later in life. When a teacher gives students more freedom and better opportunities to learn, they can find meaning in homework.

All the unimportant busy work that is given to a student could be better used in reviewing for a test or doing something one loves. Instead, teachers use homework as an excuse to bombard students with work that just ends up being a chore, which does not further prepare students for the following class. When a teacher gives students more freedom, along with better opportunities to learn, students are then able to find a use for homework.

Busy work assigned for homework is a major issue causing great stress for students. The majority of these assignments are simply work that doesn’t benefit students in any way. This surplus of assignments gives students anxiety and stress, making busy work the leading factor for stress in high school students. Therefore, teachers should carefully select homework assignments that are truly beneficial to their students rather than giving homework for the sake of giving students homework.