Friday, February 17, 2017

Why Is Homework a Thing?

            My entire high school career was very difficult. I was a three-sport athlete, a student in advanced classes, and involved in other extra-curricular activities, and worked a part-time job. It was a rare occasion when I would have free time because of the amount of homework that I had been assigned in my 7 classes. Many times I would lose sleep or be forced to do homework on bus rides in order to finish it. Even now as a full time college student who works, I still face the same challenge as I did in high school: finding time for homework. Now when I step back and watch others go through the same struggles, including my younger sister, it makes me wonder, why do teachers give students homework?
            All types of students in various stages of schooling go through the same thing. As an example, middle school students having time with their family is affected by homework. Parents of middle school students feel that they do not get quality time with their children. Let's say a parent gets home at 5:00 pm, and by the time they make supper and shower it is already 6:30. Now they have to spend the next hour or multiple hours watching and helping their children do homework. Then it is bedtime and the family has spent no quality time together. They could have used the time spent for homework talking about their days and bonding as a family. As a middle school student, is that homework really necessary? Should families lose time together because homework takes all of their children’s free time? Family time and social interaction are important parts of children’s lives. They need these to feel loved and be a part of something. So I come back to the same question: why do students have homework?
            The easy answer is practice. It helps makes progress in the subject if you just practice. But it makes me really wonder how much are students really getting out of that homework and what is it costing them in order to finish it. I have seen multiple students not have time to finish homework, so they just copy another student's assignment. The student who cheated gained nothing from this assignment. I have also witnessed and heard of students who stay up all hours of the night in order to finish their homework. Then this student shows up to school the next day exhausted and unable to be fully engaged in the classroom in order to learn new material for the homework that they will be getting that night. It can be a domino effect for students.
            As a future educator, a former middle school and high school student, and a current college student, I struggle continuously with the idea of homework. Why do we have to do something that is stressful and can take up a ton of time? Time is very important to students as they have very busy schedules when they have extracurricular activities or a job they have to get to.  I feel as a future teacher I do not want to see my students stressed out because of homework, or because they are up until 3:00 am trying to complete assignment. I also do not want my students to lose precious time with their families, friends, and even themselves. I feel that there has to be some way a teacher can help fix this or at least have a healthy balance.
And from a future teacher perspective, I can see how homework is beneficial in helping teachers have insight of how students are doing. It can help teachers see the weak area and help their students understand where they are going wrong. Homework is useful if there is immediate feedback, and helpful strategies are provided on how to fix mistakes. I think that this can be done though, with a little less homework and more in-class work. 
After reading multiple articles, it has shown me that homework has both positive and negative on students. Some show how student may get bored or frustrated with the subject and just quit. While others show how homework can help achieve academic success.
After reading this, it shows that too much homework is a bad thing, yet how too little may set students back in class. As a future educator, I know I will struggle to find the happy medium that benefits all students. I think that realizing what students are actually going through will help me. I think more educators need to realize the things students are doing and how busy their lives can be. Overwhelming students with homework is not benefiting the teachers or students. I think the best way to find out if you are assigning too much homework is to communicate with your students, take their responses seriously, and make adjustments if needed. Make sure that they are not stressing over the little things in your class like homework, because in reality it is more important for them to understand the concept than to finish their homework.