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 hard-working 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:



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.



Activity day in February




Two school-wide early dismissals




Personal early dismissal (average student has one per year; conservative estimate)




School-wide assemblies (conservative estimate of 4 per year)



Jewish, Greek, Arab, and Indian Holidays; one of these is taken by about 40% of our student population



Being called down by the office for 10 minutes;



Last period before two holidays and before June exams is taken by 70% of the population



Absences due to illness or field trips; an average of 3 per year per student (very conservative estimate)













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 subject-classroom 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.