Winter Break— or not: Last year's editorial on homework


*Editor’s note: This is last year’s editorial on homework mentioned on page 5  from Nov. 30’s print edition of the Prospector.
In “Romeo and Juliet” by William Shakespeare, Juliet asks, “What’s in a name?” She was talking about a rose and Romeo; however, if Juliet was talking about winter break, she’d find that what’s in the name is not really a “break” at all.
Most high school students across the country receive a two-week winter break around Christmas time. Break should give students a chance to forget about school and focus on spending time with friends and family around the holiday season.
Winter break should also be chance for students to take time for a mental holiday from the stress high school puts on them.
Unfortunately, winter break turns into reading an entire novel, completing review packets for finals and for some classes, even writing an entire essay. All grades get homework over break, and some seniors might still have college applications to finish on top of it all.
We, The Prospector, believe winter break should be just that — a break.
When teachers give students a big assignment to complete for each class, it’s always on their minds. No matter if they’re sledding with friends or shopping with family, they’re  thinking, “I should really finish that book.”
And the majority of the time, it doesn’t get done until the day before returning to school. That means they’re spending their entire break with homework looming over them, and don’t really get a chance to relax.
It is understandable that teachers don’t want their students to lose two weeks of learning when finals are three weeks after winter break ends. The only way to solve this problem would be to have finals before break, but that would mean starting school about two weeks earlier.
Having finals before break would be worth starting school earlier because then teachers wouldn’t have to worry about students remembering material over break and could just start fresh in January. However, until the district makes that change, finals will have to be after.
Leading up to winter break, Prospect has had 77 school days since Aug. 23, when school started, and only seven days other than weekends off in between. The longest break was the Thanksgiving four-day weekend, which is really a long weekend.
If teachers don’t give students time completely free of school over winter break, then they crash and burn right after first semester finals.
Come February, students will be counting down until June, or at least spring break. Teachers will be wondering why student’s have no motivation. It’s because by that point, students have been in school for over five months straight — without a chance to slow down and get their life back together. And because they lack motivation, Prospect will be the definition of burned out.
By using winter break as a complete mental holiday, students have 17 full days to not even think of the words project, essay or homework. 17 days also happens to be exactly the amount of days after winter break until the first day of finals. So here’s the deal — students get their 17 days free from school, and then teachers get their 17 days of students completely focused on rocking their finals. Sounds fair enough.
Untimely enough, this issue of The Prospector came out the day before winter break, so all homework, projects and packets have already been assigned. So all that can be said is teachers,  consider this for next year, happy holidays and students, enjoy winter break — oh, wait.