Opinion: Teachers, we’ve got spirit, how ’bout you?

Jeanette Wong, Author

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Decked out in her superhero attire from last year's Spirit Week, a Palo Alto High School junior expresses the workload she wishes she will not have during the week-long event. Photo by Jeanette Wong.

Decked out in her superhero attire from last year’s Spirit Week, a Palo Alto High School junior expresses the workload she wishes she will not have during the week-long event. Photo by Jeanette Wong.

To-do list: Write an English essay. Hunt down Spirit Week outfit. Memorize Spanish vocabulary. Help with float building. Study for Monday morning math test. Sound familiar?

The combination of Spirit Week with the already present academic workload can make for an overwhelming experience.

While I recognize the immense time and effort teachers put into creating lesson plans for us, I believe students should have a test-free, stress-free Spirit Week.

Spirit Week is the one week that the entire student body (or the majority, at least) is involved in a single activity, and many can agree this event generates a sense of pride for both one’s respective class and Palo Alto High School itself. By drawing out the competitiveness in all of us, Spirit Week gets us involved and encourages us to work together towards the common goal of securing bragging rights for being Spirit Week champions. It’s a week for students to have fun and enjoy the high school experience.

Tests, projects, presentations and other major assignments can detach people from the full Spirit Week experience. Instead of being on the bleachers cheering for their class, some students may find themselves stressing over a test or scrambling to put the finishing touches on a project.

Of course, wishing for a full week of school without any homework at all would be absurd. But in the spirit of Spirit Week, teachers should reserve the three class periods during that week for relatively less rigorous activities. By doing so, teachers will relieve students of the additional stress associated with tests and huge assignments.

As Pink Floyd sings, “Teachers, leave them kids alone” (at least during Spirit Week). Allow us to release our energy and scream our hearts out at the pep rallies without the thought of tests nagging at the back of our minds. With only four years at Paly, we should be able to optimize our time here by living it up during Spirit Week.

So I respectfully say, teachers, please show your Paly spirit by giving us space during Spirit Week.