During Tech Week, Cast and Crew Say Leniency Needed

The cast of ‘The Addams Family’ performs a musical number. Photo by David Barron.

Cast and crew of ‘The Addams Family’ have raised concerns about the lack of workload leniency during ‘Tech Week,’ the busiest rehearsal time before the musical’s premier.

From Saturday, February 24, until opening night March 1, rehearsal lasted for up to six hours after 3:15 p.m., with students arriving home late with homework to complete. Some also had to prepare for various assessments.

According to Creative Arts Department Chair Bill Jacob, who also directed the musical, students should not have to choose between sleep and completing schoolwork.

“It is important to recognize that a performance is an endeavor that requires large amounts of focused, organized time. It’s unfortunate if the work load is such that students feel pushed to go without sleep and undermine their health during Tech Week,” Jacob said. “We need to look more closely at how we can balance demands on our students if we are to achieve our goal of ‘unanxious expectation.’”

Cara Rittner ’19, who played Uncle Fester, said that the cast and crew should receive special consideration from teachers.

“Every night, I was up until at least 2:00 a.m. doing homework for the next day,” Rittner said.

Libby Foley ’20 echoed Rittner’s sentiments, saying that teachers should not give major assignments during Tech Week.

“We are here late every night, and are completely drained. Teachers keep pushing on tests, projects, and assignments, which creates a very stressful environment,” Foley said.

Upper School Head Joshua Neudel said that he asked teachers to “assign a lighter homework load” during Tech Week.

“I’m always willing to take student input and to review our policy,” Neudel said. “I would encourage student-leaders to engage in a discussion about how to balance academic rigors and extracurricular commitments.”

Science teacher Bethany Shannon did not to assign homework during Tech Week, lightening the overall workload.

“I generally do not give homework during Tech Week. Especially in Physics, the assignments are able to be completed during collaborative class time,” said Shannon.

As many involved in the musical push for their cause, student-athletes are now raising similar concerns with teams traveling long distances, sometimes to other states, to compete.

“I think when we get back from our games later than 8:00 p.m. on a school night, we should get leniency for our homework,” said Paxton Wong ’20.

With regard to student-athletes who, on occasion, have longer trips for away games, Neudel said that it’s important to manage time wisely during free periods and study halls.

“Part of balancing extracurricular activities is balancing your work,” Neudel said, with respect to being a responsible student-athlete. “If you know you will not be home until late at night, you should plan your work around that. If you have a paper due the next day, you should not be waiting to finish your paper until that night. Students have plenty of opportunities during free periods and study halls so they can plan ahead and complete their work ahead of time.”

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