#blogging4charity – H is for Homework
The word that still strikes horror and resentment in my heart to this day. Memories of homework in high school.
I didn’t like being in school. I was in 5 days a week for hours on end wishing for the weekend. To have homework on top felt like punishment for the teachers inability to teach effectively while we were there. It used to make me feel really frustrated as it wouldn’t just be for the one class and it was expected for the following day a lot of the time. At university, I didn’t feel as annoyed by studying at home. Perhaps because we were given more time and it was for stuff I wanted to learn about. Sometimes I found the workload overbearing when I couldn’t get my assistive technology on my laptop to work converting scanned files so it could be read to me. Even though I was often in 5 days a week, I had far more free time and breathing space and deadlines were given to us in advance.
What really used to make me cross was when teachers at school gave us our homework tasks right at the end of class. It would be just before the bell rang to get to the next class and you’d have to copy it down and pack up before legging it across to a building 5 minutes away through the streaming traffic of kids. I often copied information down incorrectly or I was unable to understand my handwriting or what was intended by the time I got home. This caused even further frustration and hatred to the concept of homework.
It wasn’t just my homework diary at school that used to be full of messy efforts to try to copy down what the tasks were. Trying to copy it down onto scraps of paper or into my jotters was just as much of an incoherent mess. There were many times that I couldn’t decipher my own handwriting let alone understand what the task was. It meant that I would answer the wrong questions or answer something I had written down incorrectly.
I got to the stage that I would get so frustrated and angry that I had been set 5 loads of homework that I was meant to do for the following day when I wasn’t getting to leave school until 3.45pm. I had to have dinner, time to play my musical instruments and chill out before I had to spend another full day feeling trapped behind the school gates. I threw numerous tantrums at home because I was so angry that the teachers were too incompetent, as far as I was concerned, to teach us in the 80 minutes worth of class I had been in that day, often because of disruptive students in my class. I would often, as in almost as regularly as I had the classes, not bother to do it.
Sometimes it wasn’t out of anger I didn’t do homework. Sometimes I would genuinely forget that I had been asked to do it and I hadn’t the time to write it down anywhere as we were told leaving the classroom to go to the next class. My short-term memory being as bad as it is mean that I wouldn’t remember what it was I was meant to do.
I wasn’t a bad kid at school. I think there were only a small amount of times I got in trouble for my ‘attitude’, but what teenager doesn’t have some sort of ‘attitude’ once in a while? I was often late for school. I didn’t like being there so I felt no desire to make an effort to be punctual. Neither of these got me a detention though, it was not handing in homework that resulted in the few detentions I did receive. It may have happened about 3 times, I can only remember one time clearly as someone got a telling off while in detention for messing around.
If kids are to be given homework I think teachers need to consider giving pupils more than one day to hand it in. They may be part of after school activities like learning an instrument or playing for the school team. There are many reasons why giving homework for the following day is unfair on pupils and they should have some sort of routine as to when they get it and when it should be submitted.
Making sure homework isn’t a rushed task given just before the bell rings so kids can write it down. Writing it down on the board to copy at least 10 minutes before the end may help those who struggle to listen and write at the same time and cause less confusion when they have to carry out the task.
Homework to me is a swear word and should only be given when it’s essential. Kids are in school 5 days a week for several hours a day. They may already find that amount of work a struggle. Yes, they do need to learn how to cope with the real world and having a job, but there are only a number of jobs that will expect you to take home work that you’ve not done while you were there. Even then, you don’t get paid for school, there’s far more of an incentive to work when you have a job.
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