One problem with more homework
More homework, please!
There was a notification for teacher staffs recently, asking for the teachers to give 5-questions homework per meeting. Apparently, there was some talk from parents that their children look too-relaxed, said they don't have homework and no tests.
While I agree on the spirit of endorsing children to learn, I myself don't find giving homework is pleasing. Here's my case. On weekly basis, I give my students some homework, which don't have to be submitted (unless occasionally, in random, I would ask to). And still on weekly basis, I give quiz, which is based on the questions in the homework I have given.
There will be an advantage for those who work on their homework well. They would recognize which part they haven't acquire a complete knowledge on and ask me their questions. While the others who just like to copy the previous ones, will be in benefit of not having to really think about how to do it yet it's done. And naturally, these latter students can't give good answer later even if the questions in the quiz are exactly the same (which they are) as in the homework.
Aside from weekly quiz, I give them test each for every chapter. Simply put, my students don't really have that kind of leisure of saying "I don't have homework nor test". Because they do. Trust me, if they said that to you, it should be either it's a holiday week or I was absent. Therefore I am rest assured that the soft-pat about homework endorsement is not pointing at me.
And you know what? Also on weekly basis, I have lots of paperwork! Giving out lots of homework and ask the students to submit them will backfire on me to an obligation of having to examine and return them right away. Enough with weekly quiz and end-of-chapter test, thank you. So when I'm lacking of giving homework, I actually am drilling them due to more quizzes. I hope my taking another route is forgiven 🙂
On the student's side of the story of homework
I learn that, being a student long time ago (sheessh… I feel old!), I used to buy myself some leisure time by delaying to do homework (if not drop it all the way, sorry, it's just natural). Thus if my parent asked, I chose to give a true answer yet not revealing the whole truth, "I won't have test tomorrow".
But oh my lovely mom… I can't remember if she even asked the question! Being a bookworm, I always dwell in books. And drawing comics. Or other books. I always looked busy that mom often said, "Don't you have holiday? You always go to school or somewhere."
So… without any harsh intention on pointing at some people and said they are liars, but students may and can lie, too. Yes, to the parents also. Come on, don't you wish to have some easy night in bed and just letting those chemistry and math books lie abandoned on the table?
I'm not saying that I'm endorsing students to lie. I'm just saying to an extend, we -the elders- are the one to give some slack. At home. Mostly if at school they already have to deal with my weekly homework and quiz -then EoC test- and we're just talking about one teacher only! [And if any student by chance reading this writing, that doesn't mean I will lessen the tone at school, yo! I stick with my pace.]
I enjoyed my days of no homework, giving me some time of having me-time and making the most of my life (yea… lurking in bookstores, going out with friends, not too much hype actually, but still was fun). I found that enough time to breath will let myself to be more forgiving and creative.
Parents, please. When in some -maybe rare- days you see your child(ren) are enjoying their afternoon with friends, going out for a movie, or just sacking themselves in bed, let them be. 6.30 a.m. – 3.30 p.m. school hour is a long time, mate!
Please don't say "They're just studying, they don't have to do what we parents do. They have lesser burden, so they couldn't be fed up like we (the parents who work) are! Cuma belajar apa susahnya, sih?". When you, parents, are about to say this, just take a minute to RECALL how it feels when YOU are the one who have to endure that long stay at school.
I went to this same school I teach now. I had 7 a.m. – 3.30 p.m. school hour to endure. I didn't feel scrutinized even if it was Monday to Saturday (at least for me, I don't know if others did). If you only see the hour band, oh how you are fooled.
Current Indonesian students must take more subjects than we did in our year (back in 90's). And mostly, these students (at my school) take cram school or private lessons after school. At least 2-3 times a week, if not on daily basis. Can you imagine how 'full' their heads are? How exhausted their body can be? You can stop saying those bad words to your children now, if you still do.
Yet, I still force my students to listen and dig deep in my subject, in our meeting. So that they understand well. So that they can lessen their private lessons and cram school that take their resting time away. They should enjoy their time. Masa muda tak akan berulang 🙂
And again, in order to be able to enjoy this while still have good scores (or even flying colors) you really should do everything you could at school. And keep the 'ruckus' at school only, leaving you with long sigh, deep breath and air of relieve at home.
Don't forget to play!
Thus, when early in this year, a parent asked me of "Tip to survive in this (highly-competed) school", I answered, "Don't forget to play". As expected, she went awed and speechless. I guessed she was measuring if I'm insane, kidding, or what? Then I went on explaining. That forcing every energy out without having time to breath in and have fun is suicidal. You need to breath in and breath out. Not just one.
Therefore I strongly recommend students to pay really good attention in class, be active, proactive (not just when teachers ask to) and make the most of their teachers at school. And when they go back home, they can just enjoy their life outside the school. No cram school, no private lessons, no bimbingan belajar. At least not until the 12th grade, when they are facing university entrance exam which tests are in slightly different way than they are used to at school.
This has become my mantra. And I suppose my students should start reckon that I often saying that, too.
"Di sekolah belajar yang serius, sampe ngerti. Di rumah ya santai aja. Main sana! Jangan dibalik. Di sekolah tidur, atau main, atau asik dengan laptop/iPod/Blackberry, atau ngobrol. Pulang sekolah, karena ngga ngerti materi pelajaran, trus les. Lah, gak efisien banget. [Ngapain sekolah kalo gitu? Fungsinya kebalik. Rumah buat belajar, sekolah buat main. Guru dicuekin, emang enak? Emang sopan? Emang gitu ya orangtuanya ngajarin? Buang-buang waktu aja. Berhenti sekolah aja. Ambil Kejar Paket C.]"
Disclaimer: Don't take my whole words as a mere advice or endorsement. There are sarcasms here and there. Read thoroughly, take a good consideration and the rest is your own risk. Viewer's discretion is highly advised.