Teachers learn how to respond to seniors’ spring-term laziness

Senioritis remains prevalent among the upperclassmen

  The epidemic has struck once again. It’s not bronchitis, although the rainy season just ended. It’s not meningitis, even though it’s allergy season. It’s not even encephalitis, though our brains have had enough learning for a year.

  It’s senioritis.

  It may seem like it’s made up, but even Merriam Webster added it to their dictionary in 1907. It’s defined as, “an ebbing of motivation and effort by school seniors as evidenced by tardiness, absences, and lower grades.”

  And just like how each disease has a season, it’s in Spring that senioritis usually appears.

  – most notably, after college acceptances.

  “Once they’re done with college applications they let down for a little bit and then pick back up,” IB World Religions, CP English 12, and AP Literature teacher David Tastor said. “And right about now, when they’re getting all their college acceptances. It’s a pretty tough time.”

  Tastor’s statement isn’t unfounded. All seniors – from those in CP classes to those in the rigorous IB program – seem to have been affected to some degree or another.

  “My peers and friends definitely have senioritis. I won’t call anyone out particularly, but I feel that senioritis runs fairly rampant in the AP and IB programs due to the massive stresses undertook by those courses,” IB senior Angikaar Chana said.

I feel that senioritis runs fairly rampant in the AP and IB programs due to the massive stresses undertook by those courses.

— IB senior Angikaar Chana

  Chana is one of the students who has to take a slew of exams in the following months which contribute to his IB Diploma Score. The scores can mean pass or fail. Thus, it isn’t really the best time to slack – even if colleges have announced their acceptances.

  Some seniors are prepared for senioritis and tackle it well.

  “Whenever I begin to have a ‘screw it’ attitude, I try and remind myself that senior Spring is the last term of high school and that I should strive to complete it with flying colors,” Chana said. “In my opinion, there’s no reason to give up on the last mile when I’ve worked so hard to tirelessly fight through the others prior.”

  Other students, Chana noted, deal with senioritis as a normal part of the high school journey, and simply try to live through and accept it.

  Yet, while you can likely ask any senior how they feel about the serious disease, it’s a very different situation for those impacted just as badly: the teachers.

  “It is a common problem for all kinds of seniors,” AP Statistics and Integrated Math teacher Bruce Honberger said.

  “It’s been going on for years. This year seems to be worse.”

  One effect of senioritis is that the quality of work deteriorates for the majority of the seniors. Grading tests is especially difficult for teachers during peak senioritis season.

  “It’s hard work because A level tests are easier to grade and senioritis tests are not usually that good,” Honberger said.

  In more advanced classes, there is less of a difference in the senioritis quality of work. While students are stressed, it is the love of the subject that keeps them afloat.

  “It is hard to keep my seniors motivated to try in tests and do homework,” IB, AP, and Honors Chemistry teacher Suchitra Krishnaraj said. “Since many colleges are actually looking at senior Spring grades, students are trying harder than in the past. Thankfully, many of my seniors actually like chemistry and continue to show interest.”

  Unlike Honberger, Krishnaraj believes that this year’s cases of senioritis aren’t particularly bad. Being higher level students, a little motivation is enough to keep them working the rest of the year.

  “Some amount of nagging and motivation works too. My most powerful motivator is to remind them not to throw two years of effort away,” Krishnaraj said.

  Tastor said he agrees with this kind of motivation.

  “I remind them that they’re about to go out in the world and they need to find the way to keep that motivation themselves,” Tastor said. “It’s not my job to be a cheerleader and stand on the sideline and motivate.”