Students and Their Planners—A Love-Hate Story

By Maya Heimes

The clock turns to 3:05, it is the end of the day, and students are putting their binders and notebooks in their backpacks. As the teacher writes the homework on the board, some students stay and write it down in their planners, others take a picture of the board, and a few just leave. Students do not write down homework due to lack of planners, since all students of Manlius Pebble Hill receive or have access to a school planner. However, not many upper schoolers use them.

“It’s easier to just leave it in your backpack, so you don’t have to take it out and write stuff down in it, when you can just ask your friends,” says Ella Pisciarino ‘21. Students feel like having to use their planner is too much of a hassle, when there are simpler ways to gain this information, such as websites and classmates.

There is also a feeling that students lack the time to write down homework. Many teachers wait until the end of class to write it on the board, but some students feel they do not have enough time to write it down. Instead, they resort to other options. As students only have fifteen- (this time is also shared with snack or lunch) or ten-minute breaks between classes, there is not a lot of time for students to write down the homework accurately. In this case, students may take a picture of the assignment on the board.

Photographs can be very helpful for students, as they will have the exact words of the teachers. As many students have cell phones on them, it is simple to take out their device to snap a picture. Students feel that this is much easier for them and there is a higher rate of accuracy. Bella Vural ‘22 uses her phone as a way to keep track of homework. Vural sees it as more useful since “If you lose a planner, you can’t get the information back. If you use your phone, it goes to the cloud and you can always have the information.”

These pictures, however, can get lost throughout their photo albums, be unclear what class the homework is for, or simply be deleted. Some students, instead of taking pictures, use a digital planning app on their cell phones. Again, students feel this is much easier, as their phones are in their pocket and it is such a simple step. Even so, with a shortage of time, students are looking for any way to save this time to walk to class, talk to their friends, or eat snack or lunch.

While many students feel that it is easier to leave planners in their backpack, other students feel the planner is very helpful. Genevieve Morrow ‘21 says, “Planners are the best way to de-stress myself when school becomes very hard. Although I don’t use my planner every day, when a tough week comes up where I have a lot of tests and homework all due at once, I find it easiest to write it all down.”

Ms. Colleen Congel, the Director of Academic Support at MPH, states, “Although it may seem irrelevant or a nuisance to keep a physical agenda these days, especially with iPhones, there are many benefits to using a planner. Planners help manage time, keep track of assignments (both short and long-term), tests, projects, deadlines, practices, work schedules, and appointments.” But how and if a student plans, is up to them. Still, when the clock turns to 3:05, some students will leave without recording any homework.