Teachers on Senioritis


Pamina Yung, Features Editor

Senior students are about to graduate, and the closer graduation gets, the more prominent senioritis becomes. Senioritis is often interpreted as either increasing laziness or a reorganization of priorities at the expense of schoolwork. Even the word’s suffix “-itis” mocks itself with the negative connotation of an illness. So how does this behavior affect the people who are in charge of keeping these students on track for graduation?

AP U.S. Government teacher Mr. Kevin Fox thinks that senioritis, mainly defined by apathy and lethargy, shows up in several grades of students near the end of the school year, but is most apparent in virtually all students who are in their final year of high school. 

I’ve seen the dreaded disease [of senioritis] up close in my classes with students showing no willingness or eagerness to engage in productive learning activities,” said Mr. Fox. “Some students drift off into oblivion before anything even gets going in class sometimes.

Mr. Fox noted that an increased number of absences, tardies, and deadline extensions that rarely get honored also come with this trend of slacking off. He thinks that senioritis may be a result of sustained intense work that starts as early as kindergarten in addition to the fact that high school is about to end.

“I guess some students simply don’t want to leave the paradise we call AHS and try to undermine their chance to graduate,” said Mr. Fox. “Maybe they are fearful of the next chapter of life, adulthood, as well.”

AP Calculus BC teacher Mr. Ben Smith thinks that the severity of senioritis depends on the types of students and classes being taught. Although he has seen absences increase and some students not turning in as much homework throughout second semester, test scores have remained the same since first semester, and senioritis isn’t too bad in his class.

“Most seniors at AHS have worked really hard for four years, and they’re getting down to the end,” said Mr. Smith. “They finished their college apps, and so there’s this natural tendency to let off the gas a little bit, wanting to relax. It’s a little bit cultural too. Students are very much aware that [senioritis is] a thing, and because of that, some students want to use that as an excuse to not do stuff.”

Mr. Smith tries to counter his students’ waning motivation by being more energetic and encouraging and by giving shorter in-class assignments.

Both teachers believe it’s understandable to get burnt out and want to slow things down, but seniors need to fight against this inclination to protect their grades and well-being.

“Particularly for those who teach seniors, this time of year can be very challenging, and it may be difficult to keep up the pace and intensity—and that’s OK,” said Mr. Fox. “Maybe it’s good for all of us to relax just a bit and to reflect on all we, students and teachers alike, have accomplished together over the years.”

Many seniors are clutching onto the remains of their academic ambitions, but there’s a way to power through.

“Picture your family gathered together, sometimes from all corners of the globe, on graduation day only to be left to sit in the living room with no ceremony to attend because you let senioritis get the better of you,” Mr. Fox said. “Snap out of it. The end is near and you’ll be moving onto new and glorious adventures, and a whole lot of normal, mundane, boring life stuff too. Don’t stop until you cross the finish line—and try not to test your teachers too much in the process.” 

“Make sure you look at your whole high school career and what you’re trying to accomplish,” said Mr. Smith. “It’s always good to finish off strong so you’re confident when you go into summer and into college next year. Finishing the year slacking off leaves a bad taste in your mouth, and you don’t feel as good about what you did. Think about how you want to remember your four years—did you finish off strong, or did you whimper to the end?”

Senioritis is both a primal urge and a social phenomenon that results in a slip in academic performance and in-class attentiveness. The fact that most seniors already know what college they’re headed off to and will permanently leave this school in June is only more incentive to ditch class, not study, or brush aside homework. While these students should be allowed to relax and celebrate their hard work, school is still in session, especially for non-AP classes that are continuing to work on new curricula. We hope all the seniors out there find the bit of courage to push through with their schoolwork and activities until graduation. You can do it!

Photo Courtesy of UNSPLASH.COM