Categorized | Features

Working inside and outside the classroom by; Lilli Wilfong

Many WHS students have either part-time or full time jobs, but how do those jobs affect how students do in school? Can they find a balance between their jobs and school work? Rebekah Martin, a WHS junior, who works at Panera Bread said,  “Having a job while in high school is pretty difficult because I have to keep up with my work along with the hours given to me by my job. I struggle with maintaining a healthy sleep balance because  I have like 3 hours to do homework and other things if I want to be in bed by 2:00 A.M.”

       A  National Research Council and Institute of Medicine (1998) study showed that “the number of hours that 10th graders worked increased the number of absences from school, especially among those students who worked more than 30 hours a week.  In addition, students working more than 30 hours a week during high school were associated with lower levels of future education attainment. And the extent to which students remained in school decreased as the average weekly hours of work rose.”  Tammy Zirkle, a math teacher at WHS said, “Kids won’t do the work outside of school so work doesn’t interfere but also, does affect for some students because they don’t have the time to do homework or study.”

     According to Kusum Singh (1998) a professor of education specializing in Educational Research and Evaluation (Statistics) at Virginia Tech  found that the more hours that students worked, the more likely they were to get lower grades. Students’ previous grades also affected their later working behaviors—students who had higher grades in elementary and middle school were less likely to work longer hours when they reached 10th grade.”

One of our very own chemistry teachers, Andrew Guertler, said, “I do tend to see a trend with employed students when it comes to their marks. Overall, students that are employed tend to struggle in keeping their grades up when compared to students who are not employed.”

           To help out students, there are actual federal laws for students with jobs. The Department of Labor sets federal rules for working teenagers according to age. For students under 14, they are limited to employment in a short list of fields that include newspaper delivery and babysitting. With some exceptions, they are also eligible to work at a business owned by their parents.

        Teens who are 14 to 15 can work in retail, food service and lifeguarding. By law, these slightly older teens can only work three hours or less on school days and 18 hours or less per week during the school year. Working hours must be after 7 a.m. and before 7 p.m. on all days except from June 1 to Labor Day.

           Students who are 16 and 17 can work unlimited hours but only in jobs declared non hazardous by the Secretary of Labor. Once they turn 18, students can work unlimited hours and are not barred from hazardous jobs.

          But are there things in their own school that can help them with bringing their grades up? Some teachers allow students to turn in late work. So if a student worked late one night they can still have time to turn their work in. ”I do allow students to turn in work late. However, there are penalties for late work. I provide countless opportunities for all students to do extra credit throughout the year,” said Guertler. The penalty ranges from a letter grade each day to a couple points. As an example of this Martin worked really late one night and didn’t have time to do homework that was due the next day, In the end her English teacher, Amber Loyacano, let her turn it in late so she still got points.  So there are ways that students who work can still get good grades, they just have to ask and do the work in order to get it.

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