The Schoolwork Blues

I know it is hard to believe, but teachers don’t really like giving out homework. It isn’t like we secretly sit at our kitchen tables, poring over handwriting that can be challenging to read, or trying to determine whose paper it is without a name, or even looking at the stack of 15 papers when it should have been 25. We don’t giggle heartily with our red pens marking every error. As a matter of fact, I rarely grade with red (I love purple and aqua!), and it makes me sad when I have to note errors on papers. I get frustrated when a student complains about not having time to do homework since the most work they have on an average evening is likely for 3 classes. Now, I am not saying that can’t be a challenge, but try grading 125 papers in the same timeframe.  I know I am whining a bit, and I really don’t mind looking over student work so that I can give the students feedback so they can continue to learn from the activity. I just get so disheartened when students choose not to do the work, don’t make an effort (yes, we can usually tell if you are confused or just not trying), or don’t even look at the feedback or make corrections when they have the opportunity. Homework is practice. It is a way for us to maximize our learning time together, but still gives you the chance to grow. I know some teachers or classes have nightly homework. Their classes may need to have that type of external practice. I rarely give homework because I want my students writing with me in class so I can offer immediate feedback or use questioning, rather than some note in the margin, to help you discover a new writing technique or a way to stretch yourselves in your literacy work. Of course, there are times when a student doesn’t take advantage of that workshop time to be productive. I am calling upon all of you to take advantage of the learning opportunities that you are given. Don’t get hung up on the grade or the score; focus on the learned skills. Don’t put a half of the effort into any project; face it head on with a thirst for knowledge. Most of all, even when you have those schoolwork blues or your grades aren’t reflecting what you want them to be……NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER give up. Face those challenges. Work hard to be the best you can be and reach for the stars. You never know what you just might learn!