Thursday, February 09, 2006

There's Something About Homework

It seems that the news world is slowing down as of late. Between the Arabs being mad at satire cartoons, activists complaining about anything to get tv time, and celebrities giving us new things to laugh at them about, it just seems hard to find something new and interesting to talk about in the new for Talking Points.

However, I did find something taht is of interest to me. In a recent poll, the questioin was asked as to whether or not students get too much homework. The end result...yes, students get too much homework. However, even with the seemingly endless pile of work they get, both parents and teachers believe that the work is rather light. In that case, the kids shouldn't have too much trouble doing it.

Now, when asking my own students what they thought of this, surprise surprise they said that they agreed with the statement that they had too much homework to do. However, the claims of having too much homework to do and the amount of time spent doing it are two ENTIRELY different things. For instance, I listen to some of the things my student say in class. When they talk about hanging out together or going out shopping or things along those lines, does that mean they are giving themselves sufficient amount of time for homework? Ofcourse not. Instead, they are going to be acting their ages and do everything in their power to avoid doing the work. In fact, I can look through my gradebook at the homework assignments collect by me for my students and see a rather common theme. If I am lucky, I will get half, that's right HALF, of my history students to give me their assignements. As for the ones who don't turn the work in...I pull out the old red pen of death and put a zero in for their grade.

Is this fair? Some will say yes while others say no. I will tell you now, it isn't fair for the students who do their work to suffer and watch other classmates wait until the last second to their work and get full credit for the work. It just isn't fair.

Fact of the Matter

The fact of the matter on this issue is this, kids are just lazy. I will admit, I came home from school, went downstairs and "did" at least ninety minutes of homework during high school. Reality, we are looking at maybe an hour tops. However, the distractions of my time when doing homework was an insatiable desire to read the next chapter of the novel I was reading. Today, kids have a plethora of television channels, the internet, ipods, and countless other tools to go ahead and distract them while they attempt to do their homework.

Do the parents know what is going on? Sometimes, but not always. What we need to consider is what must be done to help the children of this country do better in school. In fact, where I am at now, we find ourselves in the midstof course selection. I tell all the students that talk to me, do not sell yourself short. Take the classes that will challenge you. Problem is all the kids want me to be their teacher.

While I am honored with the respect and admiration that they give me, I do not want them to hinder their own education. However, there is simply one belief I have as a teacher: Regardless of what type of class you are in, there is no reason for why the materials should not be presented in a challenging manner to make a student give it their all. I treat each class like they are in college, whether they like it or not.

And what do I say about homework? The burden of responsibility is on their shoulders. If they screw up, then THEY SCREWED UP!!!!

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