Sophomore Casey Montgomery describes her summer reading, “ I read three books, annotated two of them, and took a summary of every page of the other one, as well as wrote a ten page essay.” Many students wonder when the work has officially hit overload, especially over the summer. Teachers take a different view on the matter. The summer work may seem like a huge task to take on, but it all depends on how the students handle the situation. Montgomery managed to find a way to organize her time and finished her work on time and up to her standards, but there will always be some that wait until the last minute to start their summer work, and they go crazy before school has even started. Summer work is just a brief preview of the class, and if they cannot handle it now, then will they be able to handle the class?
Many students dream of a time when school comes to an end and all work is done. However, summer assignments consume several students before they do what the word vacation intended: relax. “But at the same time the demands of education keep going up. If there are not summer assignments then there is more work that will have to be done during the school year,” AP World History teacher Mr. Napier said. With the tiring transition of summer to school drowning students, summer work stands as an easier substitute than more work at the start of school. Summer work also helps students prepare and learn skills that relieve the tensions of beginning school. “ My assignment very specifically prepares students for the type of reading, thinking, and note taking that is needed and required to be successful in AP World History,” Napier said. Along with the work that is needed for that class, summer work helps students’ acquire useful skills for in and out of the classroom such as “ time management,” English teacher Mrs. Wood said. Learning how to balance work throughout the summer is essential to making your summer stress-free. Also, it is not only students that work through the summer, “ [teachers] spend a good portion of our summer in workshops and planning for the next school year,” Wood said. Many teachers must prepare for the next year and plan along with other teachers, and many intertwine readings to compliment other classes. Summer work is not a torture device that teachers punish students with; it benefits students and gives lasting results.
The extra work will be a difficult task, especially during the lazy dog days, yet students must conquer this test and use it to their advantage. As Napier said, “ If all you ever do are the easy things then all you will ever be able to do are the easy things. You will never learn how to rise to a challenge if you don’t allow yourself to be challenged.” Unfortunately, many students still ignore the extra work and take the easy route. However, many students who take the harder classes and do not do the summer work still manage to pass. “Students are still able to pass for the semester even if they did not complete their summer reading. They are just more likely to have a lower grade,” Wood said. Students must not be discouraged from harder courses just because of the summer work, with persistence and diligence students can make up for the extra grade. Overall, there are only a few students that do not complete the summer assignment, and according to Napier 91% finished his this year . Generally, students who are willing to take the class are more prepared to put forth the effort needed for the class, but there are always exceptions. With exceptions come excuses and teachers get several of those. The most frequent in Wood’s class is, “ I didn’t know” and for Napier’s class are, “procrastination and an intent to drop the class so I didn’t think I had to do it.” If students did not complete the summer assignment and they had all summer to do so, one would hope that they would come up with a more creative and colorful excuse! In the end, the students’ best option is to effectively budget their time and get their work done over the course of the summer.