A few days ago I decided to embark upon a journey to cut out homework. I had this great conviction that I needed to teach the kids what they need to know and provide enough time for practice IN CLASS while I'm there to give assistance. I had made the necessary schedule changes, curriculum adjustments (slight reduction in work load), and carved out a few additional minutes here and there to help the "strugglers", and I was ready! I couldn't wait to go to school and talk to my kiddos about it!
The reaction I got from them was not quite what I expected.
When asking students how they felt about homework, I got the following:
"Homework makes us smart." "Doing homework gives me something to do." "Homework is important."
(If I could raise just one eyebrow, at that point it would have been up to my hairline). And then it hit me: They're playing the SCHOOL GAME! They're saying exactly what they think I want them to say. What an eye-opener! (Perhaps I have a little more to learn about making a truly child-centered classroom, if they think they have to feed me lines like that).
Little by little, though, they began to open up. They were hesitant at first because this kind of conversation about school with a teacher was just new to them. By the end of the day, pretty much everyone in the class was excited about the change, and many have even blogged about it, asking "Will it stay or will it go?"
I think I've learned that I've got quite a distance to go and much to learn, but at least I'm making a few steps in the right direction.