Should High School Students Work During the School Year? There’s a time in life when teens want to get a head jump into their adulthood. To show that they’re maturing, some teenagers start smoking, while others start dating to show their responsibility and commitments towards relationships, but most of them start working part- time in order to have money to do the things they wish to do. In fact, I got my first job at the age of 15 when I was a freshman in high school. The reason why I chose to work was because I wanted to save some money for college.
Although I work to save money for school, many of my friends work to save money for new-fashioned clothing and shoes. As a result of working, my GPA dropped from a 3. 83 to 3. 55 during my senior year. Earning money to spend can be a good thing, but having a job does hurt a teenager in several ways. Therefore, students who are attending school shouldn’t work during the school year because working has a negative effect on the student’s school success as well as his/her future.
Although having a part-time job may help a growing teen to be more independent, work ethic driven and more productive, it interferes with the school involvement of a teenager. Working long hours while attending school is just too much hard work for young adults to handle. Imagine getting home tired from a four-hour shift at work and still having homework to do after dinner and a shower. I’m sure some people can handle this for a week or so, but after that, they’ll get burnt out. Too much work leads to stress and eventually, working teen’s grades will drop.
When their grades start dropping, they may cut back their course load and begin to avoid classes that require many hours of studying. In the article “Part-Time Work Ethic: Should Teens Go For It? ,” Dennis McLennan cites evidence from a study of more than 500 working and non-working students at four Orange County (California) high schools, “part-time employment during the school year may undermine youngsters’ education. Students who work long hours are more likely to cut back on courses at school, taking easier classes and avoiding tougher ones… long hours of work begun early in the school year increase the likelihood of dropping out. I find this information accurate because, as I said before, as my work hours increased, my GPA decreased. This brings back memories from my 12th grade economics class. According to Karl Ochi, my economics teacher at George Washington High, the productive curve (shown below) shows the relationship between grades and hours spent at work. Productivity Graph ( GPA versus hours of work) [pic] Furthermore, not only does working interfere with school involvement, places where teenagers work, like McDonald’s and Kentucky Fried Chicken, have no educational values.
It’s true that employers may teach their workers how to operate food-preparation machines and cash registers, but how difficult is it to operate a microwave or cash register when you just have to press buttons? According to Ellen Greenberger, a psychologist and professor of social ecology at U. C. Irvine, “computation nowadays is often done automatically by the cash register; so much for practicing arithmetic. Kids do extremely little writing and reading [on the job]. [These jobs are so easy to do that even] somebody with a grade-school education or less [can do]. For example, my friend Amy works at Taco Bell. If the total for a burrito and two tacos is $2. 90 and the customers gave her $5. 00, all should she have to do is press the $5. 00 key and the amount of $2. 10 will appear on the screen. Some people view a part-time job as an activity that teaches responsibility and builds character. This point of view sees the work environment as a place to learn values and to be honest. Since employees learn to handle money, dress appropriately, and deal with customers, many believe they are becoming responsible adults.
Even though a job during school years traditionally has been viewed as an opportunity for one to develop character and responsibility, it appears that most working teens promote juvenile delinquency. Many people I know get into bad, or shall I say, criminal behavior when they “hook their friends up” or give away goods. Some would just steal goods and others would steal money from work. For example, I have friends who used to work at Office Depot. I remembered seeing them at school, selling very expensive pens such as the brand Waterman, those that cost $50-$80 each.
They told me that they stole them from work. I also discovered that my former co-worker got fired for stealing money out of the cash register. According to national research data and the study of 500 students at four Orange County high schools, “about 30 % of the youngsters in their 1st time job have given away goods or services; 18% have taken things other than money form work; 5 ? % have taken money from work; and 17 % have worked under the influence of drugs or alcohol. ” This clearly shows that working teens don’t develop responsibility and character, but instead, they develop criminal tendencies.
Although some kids work to support themselves or to save money for educational purposes, the majority of teens who work use their paychecks for shopping. Businesses such as Gap, Macy’s, and Foot Locker look forward to the 1st and 15th of each month because those are the days when working teens get paid. Teenagers play a huge role in consumerism because many of them spend money on new-fashioned clothing. Some people even spend their earnings at places where they work. For example, my cousin Jeff works at Anchor Blue. He spends his paycheck buying clothing at the place where he works.
Anchor Blue is benefiting from Jeff because from my point of view, they’re not only getting extra customers, they’re basically receiving free labor as well, since he spends his pay at their store. In the same research study mentioned before, working leads less often to the accumulation of savings or financial contributions to the family than to a higher level of spending on cars, clothes, stereos, concerts and other luxury items. In the eyes of an economist, spending money is considered a positive thing because it increases Gross Domestic Production (GDP), but in the eyes of sociologist, the money teens spend only increases their materialism.
Many teens find that the paycheck they receive is meant for spending. Not only is their definition of earning money wrong, they need to take into consideration that they’re not contributing any financial support to their family and instead are increasing the bills of food, water and electricity. As a result of putting the wrong value on money, these teens are motivated to keep up with style instead of saving money for something more beneficial. In his article “Why Fast-Food Joints Don’t Serve Up Good Jobs For Kids”, Amitai Etzioni says that these individuals are “driven to buy objects of no intrinsic educational, cultural or social merit. Having jobs as teens is obviously a path to bad American consumerism: spending and not saving. Teenagers who work long hours may develop social skills and learn to live an adult life at an early age, but by dedicating time to work rather than school, the development of true maturity may be negatively affected. Teenagers who work long hours during the school year may miss out on school activities such as sports and clubs. High school is a time when students should take the chance to explore all opportunities given and not use their time to earn money yet because they will eventually get there.
For example, I used to work almost everyday after school. By doing what I had done, I missed out on many school dances that I could have gone to. In the article, “Part-time work ethic: Should teens go for it? ”, Dennis McLellan says that “working long hours may interfere with other very important goals of growing years. ” So while teens may enjoy their “adult life” at a young age, they will probably regret growing up too fast. As we examine all the pros and cons of whether students should have a part-time job during the school year, it is clear that students prioritizing school over work is a superior choice.
First, the students’ future will be better off because with their maximum involvement in school, they will have a better chance of getting good grades and succeeding. Secondly, the chances of teenagers forming delinquent behaviors are smaller because they won’t have the opportunity to do things other teens may be doing at work such as stealing. Thirdly, teenagers won’t be concentrating as much on spending because they won’t have as much money to buy fashionable clothing and shoes they would if they worked.
And finally, students can dedicate their extra time to school activities such as sports and clubs. If they were willing to spend their extra time in school participation, they would have the opportunity to meet new friends and have something to write in their high school transcripts as extra curriculars. Knowing that there are more benefits in school, teenagers should concentrate more in school over everything else because even in economics, education is an investment. The more students invest into learning, the more productive they’ll be in the future.