Millions of teens around the world find excitement and pride in landing their first after school job. Whether it is as a lifeguard at a community pool, scooping ice cream in the local ice cream shop, or folding clothes at their favorite boutique, having a job is a great way for teens to make their own money, learn responsibility, meet new friends, and gain experience in the workforce. However, for students who are already showing signs of struggle in one or more academic areas, an after school job may not be the best idea.
After school jobs require a lot of a student’s free time. After school, instead of meeting with study groups, meeting with a tutor, or staying after to go over homework with the teacher, these students have to rush off to work so they won’t be late. While they are showing responsibility and discipline by being punctual to work, they could be neglecting their grades.
Teenagers love their sleep. They value their Z’s and cherish their snooze button. Teens sleep a lot because they need to sleep a lot, even if their sleeping times seem off compared to the rest of the world (Staying up until 3 am and waking up at noon!) However, the brain is doing a lot of work in those hours when a teen is sleeping, and an afterschool job may interfere with their sleep schedule. Jobs that require late night hours such as waiter/waitress or working at a movie theatre can really throw off a teen’s sleep schedule, and could leave them feeling drowsy, irritable and unmotivated in class the next day. For students who are already struggling with math, exhaustion definitely does not help.
If your teen does not absolutely need to have an after school job, it may be beneficial for them to focus their time after school on their grades instead of an extra responsibility. If grades increase, you can discuss the idea with your child of returning back to work, possibly with fewer hours during the week.
There are plenty of good reasons why teens should be encouraged to get a job, as it provides them with skills they will use for the rest of their lives. However, folding clothes at a boutique or serving dinner at a restaurant is not worth failing a class or an increased frustration/anxiety towards education. Most students who use their after school hours for extra help in math see an improvement rather quickly, and it can make all the difference.