Monitor readers voice views on teens and part-time jobs
A majority of our readers think that part-time work after school for teens is not a bad idea -- provided the decision to work has been a thoughtful one that both parents and teens have discussed.Skip to next paragraph
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Many parents write to say how proud they are of the achievements of their children who have worked part-time during their school years. Doris Martin of Goleta, Calif., tells of her son who became hooked on aviation at age 15. She and her husband encouraged him to take flying lessons, provided he earned the money himself. Money from gardening and babysitting enabled him to pay for his first lessons, and he is a pilot by profession today.
None of the students who responded think that working is a bad idea. A student from the Troy Area Senior High School in Troy, Pa., says: "Getting a job gives you a good feeling about doing something for yourself and getting a good start in life."
Many students admit that jobs may sometimes encroach on school work and activities. They advise both parents and teens to work with each other to make certain school work is the first priority, but some differ over whether or not work should take precedence over school activities.
"I think teen-agers should enjoy their time in school and get involved in school activities," writed Donna Wagner from Troy Area High School. "Let working be fun but don't let it take the fun out of school."
Her classmate Cindy Bohleyer says: "The problem of not having time for after-school activities isn't very important. Most teenagers enjoy their jobs as much as or more than the after-school activities."
Reader veto the idea of part-time jobs for various reasons. Some are young working people who say that they have "grown up too fast." Several teachers write that they have seen a drop of interest in school caused by an emphasis on jobs. Anne Lipman of Panorama City, Calif., points out that a job will not suddenly transform a teen into a responsible, independent person.
"The groundwork for that begins at home, primarily with the role-model of the parents," she says. "Further enrichment develops in the school, which is then nurtured by religious instruction and supported by sports, camping trips, hikes, etc."
Readers of all ages note how important motives are for success in school and work.
"Just earning money shouldn't be the primary motive for teen employment," says Anne M. Hofflund of San Diego. "The development of practical skills, the ability to work productively with others, as well as an introduction to his or her potential as a responsible citizen should be among the aims of a teenager's job."
Family support is very important in a student's success.
"It should be the parent's role to keep school them priority, and discuss with his child that delayed rewards are often great -- both intellectually and financially," writes Thomas S. Wyman of Palo Alto, Calif.
Patricia H. Boldt of Appleton, Wis., admires students who earn their own money for a college education, but agrees that responsibility and independence can be learned at school "by thoroughly preparing lessons, going beyond what is expected, and by reading extensively. School activities train young people to get along with others with respect and understanding."
She sees volunteer work as a productive use of time and energy. The student will experience "self-satisfaction, more valuable than any paycheck."
Here are more reader responses:
". . . Upon going into work, I was doubtful as to whether I could handle a job and keep up with school studies and a social life. However, after having entered the work force, I realize my worries were not well founded.
"I have learned so much. I have more self-discipline, responsibility, and a better understanding of what my priorities are. . . . I think many jobs provide a more valuable experience than many school activities. In today's fast paced world, jobs help a student for life after graduation.
". . . But, I will admit that it takes a high degree of dedication to excel at both grades and work." Anne Pershing Simsbury, Conn.