Why you should be thankful for a homework free break

Graphic by Zoe Chyatte

Graphic by Zoe Chyatte

By Hannah Feuer

The holidays are the perfect time to relax, spend time with family and catch up on self-care. But marred by homework, projects and upcoming end-of-quarter tests, winter “break” in previous years was a misnomer—filled with more schoolwork than holiday cheer.

Principal Robert Dodd announced Dec. 11 that teachers wouldn’t be allowed to assign homework over winter break or give tests immediately after students return. Dodd should be commended for his efforts to make break stress-free, and a homework free holiday break and President’s Day weekend should be implemented again next year.

Frequent breaks throughout the year are better for students’ productivity and mental health than one extended break, Public School Review found in an article discussing the benefits of year-round schooling. But with only a four day spring break, MCPS students barely have any time off from school outside of summer. It’s imperative that students can truly relax in the few days off they’re afforded.

That’s why in an informal survey of 85 students across freshman, sophomore and senior grades, almost 95 percent said they were happy with the announcement and felt it would make winter break more enjoyable.

With most college applications due Jan. 1, for seniors especially a reprieve from school-related assignments is necessary. Regardless of whether homework is given, many seniors will spend break frantically writing supplemental essays. Burdening them with school work on top of applications that will define their futures is unnecessarily stressful.

Many teachers say the “brain break”—announced only two weeks ago—was sprung on them without sufficient warning to adjust their syllabi. To make up for unexpected lost time, some teachers are piling on work the week before break or concentrating due dates immediately after the homework free ban is lifted.

But schoolwork often slows down right before break in anticipation of student absences anyways; why not simply shift class schedules to cater toward the students who show? And for students who want to get a head start on work due soon after break, nothing is stopping them from beginning their assignments.

As for rushed implementation, it’s true the timing of the announcement could’ve been better. But earlier planning for next year is an easy fix.

So this holiday season, as you sit back and relax, give a big thank you to Dodd. Despite backlash from teachers, he’s restored winter break to the vacation it’s meant to be.