School in the afternoon is more efficient for teenagers

December 7, 2017 — by Muthu Palaniappan

Reporter argues for a change of schedule in school.

According to a video made by the BBC, students at the Hampton Court School start school at 1:30 p.m. and end around 7 p.m. At first, I thought that this schedule must be horrible, since ending school after sunset seems so long and wasteful.

But when I really started to think about my own school life, I realized that I only start to be productive with my work after I eat dinner.

The hours I spend after school till I eat dinner around 7 p.m. are always filled with snacking, watching random YouTube videos, napping and simply procrastinating. No matter how much I tell myself to be productive, it never works that way.

Personally, crunch time is from after dinner until midnight, or whenever I sleep. Knowing that there is a deadline to meet the next day is motivation to work harder at night.

Teens would benefit from this late-start system. It achieves a way to balance studies with getting a healthy amount of sleep, something I find impossible to deal with as of now.

Starting school in the afternoon would allow students who might have stayed up later in the night to get eight hours of sleep.

Even if you were to go to sleep around 1 a.m. (the norm for many students), you could wake up feeling much more refreshed. On contrast, with our current schedule, students may sleep late to wake up drowsy between 7 and 8 a.m. If school started in the afternoon, I could get much more sleep and still manage to get all the work and studying done that I had before.

Since major alterations of the schedule would alter the place of extracurriculars in a student’s schedule, extracurriculars and sports could simply be moved to the morning instead of evening. Since school would end around 7 p.m., it would make sense to keep sports practices and other out of school activities students participate in in the morning around 10 a.m.

This would also energize students before they enter school later in the day.

The BBC story said that as a result of adolescence, teenagers’ body clocks shift a few hours later. This means that while adults may feel awake and ready for the day at 8 a.m., a teenager will have the equivalent feeling around 10 a.m.

According to a Wall Street Journal article, the onset of puberty brings a median 1.5-hour delay in the body's release of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. Again, this means that students naturally perform better when they stay up later and sleep in the next  day.

Students at the Hampton Court School have praised the late-start schedule, saying they’re happier and more productive.

To be sure, school from the afternoon to the nighttime may seem a little irrational at first, but this radical solution to constant teen sleep deprivation would be beneficial for the typical high school student.

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