Teacher Opinions on Homework
Recently, Brandy Young, a second grade teacher from Texas, sent a note home to parents about her new homework policy. Parent Samantha Gallagher posted the note to Facebook, and it went viral.
“Homework will only consist of work that your student did not finish during the school day,” Young’s note stated. “There will be no formally assigned homework this year.”
This note brought national attention to a conversation that has been blown off for years.
Students, and even parents, often complain of a too-heavy workload. With X and AP classes, sports, jobs, clubs and volunteering, it can be difficult for some students to take time for activities important for mental growth and health such as family meals, getting enough sleep and relaxing.
Every person can guess the overall student consensus on homework: there is too much. Teachers are the ones who assign homework and create the burden, so their opinions about homework are important to look at.
Melissa Martin teaches english 11 CP and etymology at North Central, and she usually assigns about 30 minutes of homework per night.
“I believe there is authenticity in homework that elicits analytical responses from students,” Martin said. “When students complete homework outside of class, they have the opportunity to reflect away from class and their peers. Homework that is specific and can generate individual thoughts and opinions is beneficial.”
Math teacher Adrienne Bell, who is new to North Central this year, assigns 30 to 45 minutes of homework each night, and she agrees that homework is essential to productive learning.
“[Homework] is the best way to solidify the information that you have to keep practicing, especially for math,” Bell said.
If the amount of homework time that both of these teachers assign each night is multiplied by six classes, a student would have at least three hours of homework each night. Data from the National Education Association suggest homework from high schoolers should be anywhere from one hour and 30 minutes to two hours and 10 minutes.
Bell realized this was too much, but she had an idea to rearrange the school day schedule as a possible solution.
“Four days of classes and one day off and have a prep day for homework… Doing five hours [of homework]is very hard, especially to keep a life,” Bell said.
Maybe the best way to solve the homework problem is just to bring it to the attention of teachers. If teachers can find a way to work together, they can create a more manageable workload for students.