The Numbers
Suggest that Everyone Should Study
If you think a high school student spends a great part
of his life in the classroom, the numbers suggest that such a feeling is an
illusion. Of course a good student and a hardworking teacher spend a lot of
hours outside the classroom working, and the following analysis reveals another
reason why homework for all concerned is essential.
The average year is 365.25 days long, and we are awake
for about 16 hours a day for a total of 5844 hours.
Theoretically, a high school student is in school for
180 days per year. Each day consists of four 75 minute periods for a daily
total of 5 hours, for an annual total of 900 hours.
But in reality we have to do a fair amount of subtracting:
Interruption 
Days lost 
Classroom Hours lost from theoretical total 
On exam
days –there are 15 of them (January
and June), students write an average of 12 of them—2 hours each on average
for a total of 24 hours. If these had been class days, there would have been
75 hours, a difference of 51. 
15 
51 
Activity
day in February 
1 
5 
Two
schoolwide early dismissals 
0 
3 
Personal
early dismissal (average student has one per year; conservative estimate) 
0.25 
1.25 
Schoolwide
assemblies (conservative estimate of 4 per year) 
1 
5 
Jewish,
Greek, Arab, and Indian Holidays; one of these is taken by about 40% of our
student population 
1*0.40 
2 
Being
called down by the office for 10 minutes; 
0 
0.17 
Last
period before two holidays and before June exams is taken by 70% of the
population 
0.70(0.75) 
2.6 
Absences
due to illness or field trips; an average of 3 per year per student (very
conservative estimate) 
3 
15 



TOTAL 

74.59 



Actual annual time spent in the classroom = 900 – 74.59 = 825.41 hours
Percent of total waking hours spent in the classroom
= 825.41/5844 = 14%
Percent of all hours (waking plus sleep time) spent in the classroom =
825.41/(24*365.25) = 9.4%
But the story does not end there. Any given course is only offered, at
the most, 6 times out of a 9 day cycle (36 periods). That means the % of all
hours spent in any given subjectclassroom is (6/36)*9.4% = 1.6%.
So for a student(or teacher)who does no work
outside of the classroom, at least 98.4 % of the time his brain is occupied
doing something other than, say, science. It is either asleep or involved in
eating or whatever miscellaneous activity. If the time outside the classroom is
not partly devoted to reviewing the subject, is it any wonder that many adults
don’t remember what they did in school? It’s simply the brain’s reflection of a
mathematical reality and of the fact that these adults did not compensate for
it.
As a student progresses into CEGEP, university and graduate school, the
percentage of time spent in the classroom shrinks further. It becomes
increasingly imperative to work harder on one’s own.