Tuesday, November 5, 2013

My Sister May Not Be Teaching Much Longer

I have a lot of respect for the teaching profession and for good teachers. I also know that a teacher is more a slave to bureaucracies and state and federal teaching standards than they have ever been in the past. My sister who has been a teacher for almost 30 years is thinking of retiring sooner than she had planned simply because she doesn't feel like she can do any real good any longer. She has, and I quote from a recent letter from her, 

"... just about come to the conclusion that teaching isn't for me.  Only took 27 years to figure it out, too.  Or maybe it's just that the joy of teaching has vanished due to the fact that we no longer get to teach because we are always assessing students to see their strengths and weaknesses to guide our teaching, but we don't have time to teach because we are spending so much time testing.   Therefore, there is really no need to test or assess because I can already tell you that my kids don't know it because I haven't had time to teach it because I'm testing.  Everyone and his brother wants to mandate what goes on with education without a clue as to what is age appropriate.  At least that's how it seems.  There is so much more that I could say, but won't." 

School in Wales won't be giving out home work

At first thought I rather liked the idea. I had a really big problem with the amount of homework Andrew was bringing home when he was in school, and it was starting to get ridiculous for Eler Beth before I started home schooling her. It was one of the factors in our decision to home school. I do believe that home work is important and can be a valuable educational tool. Completing and turning in home work and scheduling time for home work can teach responsibility, be a source of self-confidence and pride, and provide good opportunities for parents to be a part of their children's education. But there should be a limit.

I first read about this school in a BBC article. It is a school in Wales, UK, that will open next year with plans for giving out no homework. It is a free school that will service about 1,100 students from 11 to 18 years old. The downsize is that students will not be dismissed until around 5 p.m. which would mean children would be traveling home during "rush hour." The purpose of the no homework policy, according to the prospective principal of the Jane Austen Academy, Claire Heald, is to allow families more free time together in the evenings. 

"Rather than setting homework that students could go home and struggle with, and where there may be limited access to computers, they will do that in the school day.  We are saying that when they go home they should enjoy quality family time....There will not be any traditional homework and that has been really well received by parents who respect the fact that family time will be family time."

Students will be expected to study at home for tests and will have a longer school day in which to complete their school work. It will be interesting to see how this works out. Other schools have actively reduced the amount of home work sent home with students, and apparently this isn't the first school in the UK to ban homework. There has been quite a debate about it in the media, and I have been interested in reading what both sides have to say.

There are children who don't have a home life that is conducive to home work, and there are children who either can't or won't be motivated to sit down and do their home work. I can't help but think that this policy would actually help them.

What do you think? 

Links to relative articles above.




Interesting, indeed.

Ken Riches said...

A tragedy that teachers do not get more respect in our county...