Importance of Taking Breaks Throughout the School Year

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Walking around my High School, I see a lot of people hanging their head and talking to their friends about how hard one or a few of their classes are. I feel it too, I struggle in my math class and tend to procrastinate my English assignments. I started to wonder what was causing all of this, and after seeing the topic for my final paper in this class I realized that a lot of students are stressed out about their classes and I wondered what could be done to help prevent this. To help high school students feel less stressed and anxious, high schools should add a lounge and make time for all students to use it. Having a time set aside to use the lounge would allow students to relax and feel like they aren't being rushed to do anything. Many schools have set aside time for a study hall, but students are forced to be in one class and sometimes they aren't allowed to leave that class for that time. Sometimes, students need to be able to work with partners, but if they aren't in the same class, they may not be able to use that time to work on their project. But, with a lounge, all students can go there and will be able to work with their partners in a nice and relaxed environment. This lounge would be open before school starts, after school ends, and for forty-five minutes during the day on one or a few specific days at a specific time that the school will choose. This gives the students the break they need and won’t interfere too much with their class schedules.

This would also benefit teachers as they now also have that time off as well. All schools have security guards that can watch over the students during lounge time while the teachers get their rooms to themselves. During this time, teachers can also get caught up on work that they are behind on. Maybe they need to grade assignments or come up with the homework for the next unit. This also means that if a teacher feels like a certain student needs extra help in their class, they can ask the student to come in during that time. However, I feel that the teacher should only be allowed to keep the student in their room for half of the lounge time and the student can refuse. Otherwise, the student would feel that it is unfair for them to be stuck in the classroom the whole time and if the student is allowed to refuse they will start to think about whether or not they think they need it. If the student starts to see a drop in their grade, they will be more likely to take the time their teacher offered them. The student might also have other work they need to finish outside of that class. This lounge time not only give the students time for a break, but the teachers as well. Teachers work very hard and, as far as I know, the only breaks they get are their free period and their lunch break. I don’t think that is enough time for them to get everything done, and even if it is, with this extra free time, they won’t feel as stressed either and their work quality may even go up.

Many people may see this as a bad idea because it gives students the opportunity to be dumb and reckless during a time that they could be in a class learning important topics and furthering their knowledge. These people make a valid claim but I don't think that they are thinking about what causes some students to act so recklessly. I believe that most of the students who act that way, do so because of something that happened at school or even at home, to make them feel stressed and anxious. Youki Terada says in his article on how taking breaks benefit students, “So breaks are an essential part of learning. But the benefits extend beyond the psychological well-being of students.. .. In a series of recent studies, short physical activity breaks in the classroom improved students' behavior, increasing the effort they put into their activities as well as their ability to stay on task.”(Terada 1) Having a lounge time would give those students a time and place to relax and calm down or participate in some small physical activities. However, being stuck in a classroom all day doesn't give them the opportunity to do that. This is an example of how this can benefit students outside of school as well. Being able to go home happy will change some students’ lives drastically and prevent them from making bad decisions. I see so many people from my High School doing drugs and smoking and it pains me because I know a lot of them and I know that they aren’t happy at school or at home and that is why they do that kind of stuff. I don’t blame the schools, but I do think that they can do more to prevent this kind of thing from happening to their students.

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Some people also say that students already have lunchtime to socialize, so they don't need another time for them to take off from classes. A post on talking about whether or not students should get a lounge/breakroom says, 'They already do. To the best of my knowledge, every school has a lunchroom, library, and other spaces where kids can go to relax and/or do homework when not in class. Many, if not most also have other areas like study halls that can be used for those purposes. Creating more would be a waist of tax payer money.'( 2) While many schools do have those places, very few have a set time for students to use them. As for wasting tax money, the students and their families can donate the supplies. Joseph Gidjunis says that at Haddonfield High School “‘No tax dollars have been spent on any of the senior toys because students' families donated everything’, Wilson said. And school staff who monitor the cafeteria also make sure the lounge is never too chaotic or violating school policy.”(Gdijunis 3) Students should get time off of classwork at least once every week. Students would also use this time to relax and not just do homework. They need to be able to take time off and just do nothing. While we do get weekends off, most students would work better if they get to take a relaxing break during the day.

According to, “The U.S. Census Bureau (Links to an external site.) reports that in 2017, more than 18 million students were enrolled in college in the U.S. According to figures compiled by Statista (Links to an external site.), nearly three out of four of these students have experienced a sense of “overwhelming anxiety” at some time, and just under 30% report having felt overwhelming anxiety in the previous two weeks.”( 4) A lot of students experience stress during school and not much is done about it. Just by giving students a time to stop working and relax, I believe that stress levels will go down because students will no longer feel like they have to get work done as soon as possible. As a running start student, these lounge times wouldn’t affect me, but I know that when I was at the High School, I experienced a lot of stress, especially in my honors classes. If I had something like the lounge time I am talking about, I know that my stress levels would have gone down and I think my grades may have gone up as well.

Having a lounge time will also benefit new students as well. “You have no idea where your ‘place’ is: whether there is any kind of ‘pecking order’ and, if there is, where you come in it. Your previous experience of educational institutions is unlikely to be much help.” (Peter Levin 5) As a new student, it is hard to find new friends because everyone already has their “group” and not everyone is very accepting. But, with a time set aside for socializing, new students can easily meet new people and find a place where they fit in.

These types of spaces may even allow students to make new friends as well. When students are in a relaxed space, we tend to be more open and friendly with people we haven’t met before. Maybe we need help with a math problem and someone else happens to be able to help, or we just happen to meet and get along. There are so many reasons to have a lounge for students. When we are relaxed and stress-free, we become better people. There is a lot of stress in today’s society and that causes us to be more closed off and anti-social. When we connect with people we become happier and we can even learn more about the world around us. In their article, Diana G. Oblinger says, “Often the most memorable college experiences involve connections with others, whether students or faculty. All indications point to the importance of learning spaces that facilitate connections.”(Oblinger 6) Social areas give us a place to make memories and meet new friends.

Having a space like this will also allow students to get feedback on projects from people outside of their classrooms. Having your friends peer review your essay tends to bring out more constructive criticism because your friends aren’t afraid to tell you what you did wrong. Having someone you don’t know very well doesn’t always get you the best results because people try not to offend others if possible. We all want other people to like us or at least not think poorly of us. We still try to help the people we don’t know but, I find that friends are the best for peer review because they are not afraid to tell you what you did wrong and should have done instead.

While many people may see setting a time aside to let students relax and release stress as a bad thing, I have found a lot more evidence to prove that it would actually help students and teachers, rather than restrict them. A lounge time will give students the needed opportunity to rest their brains, calm down, and socialize with their friends and new people as well. Teachers will be able to use this time to catch up on work and relax. A concern that some people have is that it will cost the taxpayers extra money but, if the students and their families donate supplies for this project to the school, It will cost the school and taxpayers nothing extra and they will be helping students to enjoy their education that much more.

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