Summer Assignments- Yay or Nay?

Summer Assignments- Yay or Nay?

Aileen Resendiz

At the end of every school year comes summer vacation, and with that, summer assignments. As teachers assign summer work, there are students who can tolerate it, and there are some who despise it. Although this is normal procedure for Honors and AP students, some may wonder, are summer assignments really necessary?


It seems that both teachers and students can agree that summer work is for the student and the teacher’s benefit. Teachers can have an idea of what kind of students they’ll have in the upcoming year, and students can preview the content of the course ahead.


The majority of teachers believe that summer work is necessary, however some students may feel overworked. Ali Margolies, a sophomore here at Ridge, agrees with this. Margolies believes that since Honors students already work hard during the school year, they need the summer break to recuperate without any work to do.


“It takes away from our summer, and as honor kids, we need that break,” says Margolies.


Work over the summer is also assigned because with some AP and Honors courses, there is not enough time to cover the content of the class. Teachers use the summer as time for students to learn even if they are not in school, simply because one school year is not enough time. Ms. Roa, who teaches Economics and AP World History, assigns summer work for this reason.


“Summer work is a requirement in AP World History. As a course that covers 10,000 years of history in addition to writing skills and historical thinking skills, it’s a necessity to ensure we finish content in time to review before the AP exam,” Roa states.


While students learn material for the upcoming year, some feel that they don’t learn as well without a teacher physically present. On the other hand, some students learn perfectly fine on their own. Laya Reddy, a senior, believes just that.


“Students learn in different ways, so some may learn best by reading the textbook, and others may learn by teacher instruction. It just depends on the student,” says Reddy.


However, it appears that teachers think that students should be capable of guiding themselves through their summer assignments with the instructions provided. Many believe that if they were accepted into a rigid course, they should be able to complete the work for the class.


“If students are in Honors/AP, yes [students can learn without guidance] as long as the material is grade level appropriate. Teachers are available via email in the summer too, should students have questions,” Heidi Moya, ELA 1-2 Honors teacher said.


Others like Tyson Townsend, a sophomore, who said “it depends on how much they procrastinate,” believe the difficulty and frustration of summer work depends on how long they wait to complete their assignments.


Students may not be assigned piles of work to do, but as most complete it at the last minute, it may feel that way. When an essay is completed an hour before it is due, most people would feel just a little stressed.


This raises a question: could there be easier alternatives for summer assignments? To many students and teachers, this is something they are open to; they just are unsure of what changes would be made. Lynne Bondi, who teaches ELA 3-4 Honors, thinks that the work she assigned over the summer is perfect for what it needs to show her.


“We definitely want to assess their reading and writing skills as they enter, and our current summer work is an effective method. The team discusses any revisions each April for the following year, so changes are always a possibility,” Bondi said.


What seems clear is that summer assignments benefit both the teacher and student in many different ways. There is less material to cover over the school year, they are more prepared for the course, and teachers can get an idea of how they should teach the content to the new set of students. Students generally understand this, but it seems that both sides would not be opposed to changes that make sense for the both of them.