Teachers: The Dog Ate My Homework Post

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One student’s proof of a late homework posting.

Amber Daniel, Staff Writer

Each one of your classes involves homework, and every teacher expects you to fully complete their assignments on the day they are due. In return, students expect teachers to assign homework during class so they can find it on Google Classroom later. Yet, this is not always the case.

Students are told to plan out their homework so that they can effectively complete all of their assignments and balance their school work with other activities. But the availability of an online homework assigning website has given much leeway to when homework is assigned. On Google Classroom, teachers are able to post announcements, links to materials and assignments for students to see and complete at any time. Recent talk amongst students has shown that there is tension and stress since some homework is assigned almost two or three hours after school has ended and sometimes on the weekends. Also, what is posted to Google Classroom differs from what teachers might have said in class.
Junior Miles Schappell-Spillman explains that homework posting after 4 pm “happens on a daily basis.” When asked if teachers assigning homework earlier or during class would change his work, he responded, “I [would] get it done fully and better.”

Many teachers claim that they do not assign homework after 4 pm or on the weekends, and if it is assigned late, it is not due the next day. Jason Gaines, a computer programming teacher and sophomore advisor, has strong opinions on the way homework is assigned. When asked how he feels about teachers assigning homework at unconventional times, he said, “I don’t feel that teachers should be assigning homework after the school day is over. If we miss the opportunity to assign the homework on the day, then they need to make time to give the assignment later on. The digital world allows you to get in contact with anyone at any time but that doesn’t mean we should.” Mr. Gaines’ words speak for the thoughts of every student and teacher that follows the no homework after 4 pm rule.

The Blotter interviewed Upper School Director Jane Moore to get more insight into the homework policy and the school’s view on it. Since everything said was important, we decided to include the entire transcript below.

Interview with Ms. Moore:

Blotter: What does the homework policy say and where can teachers and students find it written?

Ms. Moore: The homework policy can be found in the Student-Parent Handbook that is available on the website and was sent to all families at the start of the year. It focuses on the philosophy and rationale of homework, as well as the amount of homework per class per night (30-45 minutes in the Upper School). The written policy does not currently include posting times, but the 4 pm deadline is something I have communicated orally to the faculty at a number of faculty meetings. That policy will be in the Handbook next year.

Blotter: How do you feel about the homework policy and what do you think it means for teachers and students?

Ms. Moore: I believe the policy about posting homework by 4 pm is an important one, as it allows students to plan their time after school. Sometimes posting before 4 pm is not possible, but when it is, I would encourage teachers to post assignments well in advance to allow students the most time to plan their daily and weekly work since we know that students have other after-school obligations. I would also say that if there is an unusual circumstance and a teacher can’t post homework by 4 pm, that teacher should forego giving homework that night.

Blotter: Is there anything else you would like to say?

Ms. Moore: I believe that homework should be an important aspect of the learning process. What happens on a daily basis, in class and at home, is more important to learning than studying for any one assessment. So it is important for teachers and students alike to envision homework accordingly and to provide the time and space for it be done thoughtfully and thoroughly.

In another interview, Dr. Karen Kauffmann, the school psychologist, explained her views on the homework policy and how it affects students: “It is our policy at BC for teachers not to assign homework after 4 pm and over weekends. We all agree that this is reasonable and wise and works best for students (and teachers). I’ve heard that sometimes a teacher slips up and sends homework to students after 4 pm. I think this makes planning, organizing and managing time more difficult for students and it gives them less relaxation and family time and also less time to pursue areas of interest other than academics.” Dr. Kauffmann also added, “I know that BC teachers, who are the best and hardest working I’ve ever known, want to respect this policy but they’re also human. Maybe we can all make a commitment to adhere to the policy, including students not emailing teachers after 4 pm and over the weekend, other than in emergencies or when something truly unforeseen occurs.”

The feelings and opinions of teacher and students seem to be split, but senior Jimmy Council explains his feelings about late homework posting in one sentence: “It’s overwhelming, but it’s something you gotta do.”