Watch the YouTube video here >>> https://youtu.be/ItQBp7Jpvz0
We assign them projects. Essays. Reading assignments. Group projects. Bundles of practice work. So the question is … Why? Why do we assign them the homework?
We feel guilty that we’re behind in our lesson plans and need them to catch up, so we feel better. And we might even be blaming them for our plans being behind.
We want them to keep progressing along.
We feel some unseen pressure from someone to keep our kids doing stuff all the time or we’re a bad teacher. Is this an imaginary pressure?
We just know they’re going to waste all that time watching movies and playing video games, so we need to give them something worthwhile to do with their time.
Whatever the reasons are, the day after we return from break has the same result every time. The smart, responsible kids did their homework. And they feel good about themselves because they know there’s a good 40% of the students who didn’t do anything and are feeling like failures, so they get to feel good. They also likely hate you, teacher, just a little bit for making them feel guilty enough over break to do their work so they wouldn’t have to feel like those losers over there.
The reality for those responsible kids is that they are always responsible like that, so they needed a break. And with honors kids, we needed to force them to shut off and take a break because they won’t do it on their own.
And for the usually “not responsible” kids, if we’re honest we knew they weren’t going to do their homework. They’re just not. And we’re either hoping they’ll do the right thing for once or that they’ll feel bad about not doing the right thing so they’ll do the right thing next time.
Well, and then there are all the complexities of our students’ home lives, the possibilities are too many to list, but maybe the “not responsible” kids have enough stress to handle at home without homework being added. Often the students that struggle with or don’t understand homework, don’t have support at home that would make the homework valuable practice anyways. This isn’t said to shame the families, juggling family life responsibilities can just be chaotic.
Now, as parents, we’ll be blunt, we don’t like the responsibility looming of making sure there is time for our kids to do their homework. We’re planning festivities, traveling to see family, trying to remember to do memorable traditions with the kids, juggling childcare and work, encouraging a heart of thinking of others, and practicing parenting shame resiliency . . . the last thing I want to do is make my kid complete homework.
So are you ready for the magical secret to get your every student to do their homework over the holidays? Here it is …
DON’T ASSIGN ANY HOMEWORK.
Every kid will do it. They’ll survive. Heck, they might thrive. They’ll come back refreshed. They’ll come back not feeling guilty. They’ll come back loving you because other teachers gave them homework. You won’t have a pile of busy work to grade. You won’t have to dive right into project presentations. You won’t have to have those tough phone calls with parents about why their kid didn’t do homework over break.
So we give you permission, in case no one has given you permission before or you’ve been feeling that unseen, unspoken pressure … You can assign ZERO homework over break and still be a good teacher! In fact, you should leave all your papers at school too. No homework for you either! Leave them all at school, and you’ll still be a good teacher. Make sure you’ve got things planned for those 1st two days back after holiday, then walk out with NOTHING.
Or if you’re going to assign anything at all, maybe just a little reading. But even then we’re going to feel like we need to assign a whole book or 5 chapters of the novel we’re studying in class. Then we have to deal with the 40% of them who don’t read the chapters and now what do we do because we’re not all in the same spot in the novel.
So we give you permission to fight the urge … don’t assign any homework … for the rest of your teaching career you can make sure your learners always do their homework over holiday.
Conversation of the Day: What is getting in your way from assigning ZERO homework over holidays?
Hop on over to watch the video and share your thoughts in the conversation.