It’s that time of year again, when parents and students alike begin to experience the emotional pressures placed on student academic achievement. With each new school year, from Kindergarten through Twelfth grade there are certain expectations established in the minds of parents across America. Achievement continues to be at the forefront of those expectations. However, the dreaded Homework HotSeat provides a difficult roadblock, not easily dodged.
Are you wondering what is the Homework Hot Seat? An examination of the following scenes may help paint a clearer picture for you.
SCENE 1: CLASSROOM
Teacher: “Let’s get out our planners and review the homework assignments you are responsible for tonight.”
Student: “Ugh, I hate homework, I don’t even know why I have to do homework. Haven’t I learned enough in class. I really need some me time.”
Teacher: “Ok, please be sure to write down, read chapter four in US History and answer review questions 1-7. Language Arts you need to complete the essay rough draft due tomorrow on setting goals. Is that clear? Has everyone written this information down?”
Student: Thinking… “I got it, I got it. But I’m not writing anything because the bell is about to ring and I’m outta here!”
SCENE 2: STUDENT’S HOME
Student: I need to get a snack, watch television, check my Facebook and play some Madden to relax.
Parent: Hey, how was your day?
Parent: What did you learn?
Parent: Ok, well if you have homework be sure to get it finished. I have X,Y, Z to do.
Student: Sure, Ok
(5 hours later in Spongebob announcer voice)
Parent: Did you finish your homework?
Student: I didn’t have any.
Parent: “You didn’t have any?” bewildered.
Parent: You didn’t have any, that’s three days in a row, are you sure?
Student: Yeah mom, I’m sure.
Parent: Wow, I don’t know what those teachers are doing these day, they never give homework.
SCENE 3: PARENT TEACHER CONFERENCES
Parent: I can’t imagine why my son is failing; he says he completes all his assignments.
Teacher: Well do you ever check them, because it shows here that he does very poorly on all his tests and is missing several in class assignments and hasn’t turned in any homework.
Parent: Homework, he says he never has homework, I ask him every night.
Teacher: Well, as I stated during Meet the Teacher Night and in all my Friday bi-weekly emails and also on progress reports sent home. Homework is assigned Monday-Thursday and can affect a student’s overall grade.
Parent: “You are in big trouble,” glaring at student!
SCENE 5: HOMEWORK HOTSEAT
Student: Sitting in the Hotseat!
These scenes play out in a variety of ways across the country throughout the school year, yet the results are typically the same, the dreaded Homework HotSeat!
Educators and researchers have debated the necessity for homework, its significance on achievement, the purpose and reasoning behind it, and the list goes on and on. However, the bottom line is that homework is more likely than not assigned in most classrooms throughout the American educational system. Many educators especially those who teach middle and high school must give homework as a demand of school policy and educational curriculum content. The classroom simply does not provide adequate time to introduce, model, practice, access, reteach and review all the content standards; therefore some of this is delegated to homework. The need for practice and review mostly receives that assignment.
However in many classrooms, homework plays a more significant role in the educational process. It provides implicit instruction in work ethic, and responsibility. Students need to develop the skills that demonstrate responsibility, goal setting, self-monitoring, task completion and follow through. These skills can be taught using a consistent and reasonable homework policy. The career-readiness skills are the cornerstone to the Common Core Standards and being employable in the 21st century. According to Joseph L. Miller, author of Work Ethics, What Does it Mean, “Work related social skills and habits are the most important entry level skills sought in employees…”
Students being able to think beyond their six to eight hour instructional time concerning their education, focus on homework completion, and follow through with handing it in on time, promotes not only higher academic achievement, but also the ability to work effectively as an employee. There are not many jobs today that don’t require bringing some of the office home to meet deadlines and complete the ever-growing To Do List. Homework does assist in that preparation.
In conclusion, homework is often necessary in order to practice and master the content requirements. Homework is also given consistently in most classrooms and should be expected. Homework can be an effective tool in developing career-readiness skills.
Lastly, in order to make sure students don’t fall victim to the Homework HotSeat, apply these simple guidelines:
- Develop an expectation for daily or weekly texts or emails with homework assignments clearly posted.
- Provide students with an agenda that can be signed by the parent/teacher regarding homework requirements.
- Remember people often do what is inspected not what is expected. Therefore, require homework assignments to be reviewed each night by the parent and then checked and returned with speedy feedback by the teacher for clarity and accuracy.
- Expect to go through backpacks and desks every once in a while for students struggling to turn in assignments in a timely manner. It’s amazing what papers can be found by just taking a peek into the dark side of a student’s life.
- Provide a place in close proximity or right next to an adult for homework to be completed without distraction. This can even include a study hour after school or as a parent completes their after work assignments. Modeling completing work tasks of your own is a powerful tool for student’s completing their task. Research shows that adolescent boys benefit most from this tip, due to their inability to close the gap on time and distance when it comes to assigned work due much later.
- When in Doubt, Ask About! Keep the lines of communication open between teachers, parents or even a reliable classmate to discover whether homework is being assigned and how often.
Close monitoring is the key to establishing high expectations in regards to homework completion, and students not experiencing the HOMEWORK HOTSEAT!
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