Differences in course expectations cause unnecessary stress

By J1 Reporter Christina Tinley

Christina’s Cause for Concern

Every day, whining voices complaining about too much homework, insanely hard tests, and crazy class rules bombarded me. They said it was “so unfair” how I was “so lucky.”

In reality, I would not consider myself lucky under their definition of luck. Apparently, I got the “easy” teachers: the teachers who gave out little homework, the teachers who kept tests short and simple, and the teachers who relaxed school rules in their classrooms. My freshman year schedule was filled with classes taught by the “easy” teachers.

The problem my freshman classmates were faced with was the difference in workload for supposedly the same class. For example, all freshmen take similar core classes, yet many different teachers with different teaching styles, classroom rules, and academic expectations teach that specific class.

While freshmen taught by teachers with relaxed teaching styles, classroom rules, and academic expectations will probably consider themselves fortunate compared to their classmates with more expectations, they are at a disadvantage academically. A more rigorous workload during freshman year gives students the opportunity to acclimatize to the new environment they are placed in. The freshmen who miss out on this opportunity to adjust to a high school workload will have to work even harder compared to their classmates during sophomore year to form good study habits, to keep on track, and to behave maturely during class. 

In my own experience, I struggled the first quarter of my sophomore year due to the shift in academic expectations. My workload got enormously bigger, and the tests got more challenging. I also found myself significantly worse at thinking critically about topics during in-class discussions as well as assignments compared to my classmates who were challenged their freshman year. Though my freshman year was a breeze, the shock after discovering that the classes I took my freshman year would not be the same as the classes I would take the rest of my high school career was far worse than taking difficult classes my freshman year. I wish I had gotten the opportunity to discover how high school would challenge me during my freshman year, but my classmates might disagree.

Students on the other end of the spectrum did receive the upper hand academically compared to their classmates, but they were also given less of an opportunity to socialize with other students. Freshman year is all about creating new friendships with people from other backgrounds, so giving freshman the chance to meet up with friends after school benefits them. Students given more homework and expected to study harder for tests are given less free time to hang out with friends, especially if students are given double their workload from their middle school years. The shift from middle school to high school is already hard enough, so freshman students need to be eased into their expectations as a high school student in order to make sure that they are able to find a balance between schoolwork and social life. 

The solution to this problem is increased communication between teachers to ensure that every student is given the same opportunity to learn and socialize. Teachers who teach the same class need to keep lesson plans, tests, and classroom expectations fairly similar in order to ensure that every student receives the same academic experience.

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