Problems with Time Management


Ashley Marsh

A student stressing out from having a lot of work to do.

Ashley Marsh, Staff Writer

Many teachers, such as AP Psychology teacher Jesse Dowell, have noticed students being involved in several activities, and at times struggling to turn their assignments in on time. This problem with turning assignments in on time can lead to lots of stress regarding grades. 

Students often think that because of some teacher’s policies where they will accept work after the deadline, students can turn assignments in whenever they want and get the same grade. When students have a lot of time to work on something, they may wait until the last minute and work on a project that has a faster approaching deadline. “I sometimes wonder if policies that don’t penalize the late work, while they mean to help students, if they don’t actually hurt them in some way,” Dowell said. “I am guessing a lot of teachers give students probably close to enough time to get most of their work done in school, and it is amazing to see how many [students] just sit there and don’t use it at all.”

Teachers have come up with many solutions to try and get students to become more accountable for their work. Several teachers have made turning work in on time a completely separate grade. “What I am doing starting this semester is, I make turning in work on time a stand-alone standard, so it counts for like 7 percent of the grade,” Dowell said. “Your first assignment that you turn in late there is no penalty, but each one after that would lower you one letter grade on that standard… But I don’t give zeros on [late] assignments.”

Several math classes, including math teacher Julie Probst’s Algebra 2 class, use pieces of paper as assignment sheets and put due dates on them ahead of time. Every time someone turns in an assignment on time they get a stamp, and at the end of a unit the teachers will add up all of the stamps to determine what percent a student would get for their homework grade. “The homework assignment is only four points and it is only 15 percent of your grade, where as when you take the test that is a much bigger percentage,” Probst said. She is starting to change her policies on late assignments. “By next year we have to take late assignments…we have to go to where homework does not count for points, and it is not any part of the grade.”

Some of the problems around turning assignments in on time for students is they do not know how to manage their time well. There are many students that are involved in extracurriculars that take up a lot of their time and add a lot of stress. Some students like Owen Smith ‘20 have learned how to manage their time, even with a lot of activities. “Bowling and tennis are the two sports I am in, I do jazz band, I am in the show choir band, I am in the pep band, I do marching band, I am in Cantus, the top choir here at Johnston, I am in the math club, I am in two solo and ensemble groups, I am in academic decathlon, I am also in Knowledge Bowl, and I am in Silver Chord,” Smith said. “I have never struggled with managing my time, that is something I am proud of.”

People tend to do more work than what is actually necessary. There is a lot of pressure among students to get better grades and do better in school than the rest of their peers. “I used to be the kid that did every assignment and checked everything and was a suck up, and a teacher’s pet because I wanted to be at the top,” Smith said. “I realized that is not so important anymore.”

There are many strategies that could help people plan ahead and get work done on time.  “The only thing I can say that works is write everything down. Keep a calendar. Keep a planner,” Smith said.

There are also numerous apps available on the school iPads that can assist with staying organized. “They could probably use the calendar functions and you could have these apps with to-do lists on them,” Dowell said. “There is the MyHomework app for sophomores like there are a lot of really cool things you could use.” 

Another solution may be for students to not be in so many activities. “I genuinely do think people are probably in too many extracurriculars,” Dowell said. “I feel like they kind of short change all of them, because they are trying to juggle too many things.”

For Smith, it is all about finding a balance. “You can prioritize, that is the most important thing. Sometimes school work has to come before your extracurriculars, sometimes your extracurriculars come before your school work,” Smith said. “It is just a matter of knowing what needs to be done, and knowing what has to come first.”