Monday, October 01, 2007

I have to say that I fear that Jude's teacher this year is unnecessarily hardassed.

Jude is in RLC this year, a gifted class that pulls him out of his regular class one day a week. In a meeting at the beginning of the year, the RLC teacher assured us that the kids would never have to make up work from their regular classes that they missed while in RLC. And still Jude has been bringing home worksheets every week that he says are make-up work from his class. Plus, he says that the class acts up while the RLC kids are gone, and then the whole class- including the RLC group- have to have "silent lunches", no snack, and no recess for several days in a row. Also, regardless of any make-up work, Jude will be doing homework until eight p.m. some nights.

Now I know that teachers have a hard job, and that kids are tough and wild and will act up and take advantage and manipulate and all that. However, I think expecting an eight-year-old to do homework for four hours straight or sit through an entire lunch without talking is severe. I also think that those eight-year-olds who miss an entire evening of fun activities like riding bikes or jumping on the trampoline or playing video games because they've had to do all that homework are going to get a little wound up when they're then told not to talk at the lunch table, and then told that they can't have recess, and then told that they can't have snack. Seems a bit much, don't you think? I'm not a teacher, but there must be some way to isolate and punish the kids who are actually causing the problems (they send home marks every night, so I would know by now if Jude was one of the troublemakers), at least enough that all three of those punishments wouldn't be necessary for every single kid in the class.

Anyway, I just wanted to comment on how teachers can take things overboard sometimes, and to their own detriment I think. I mean, once she's made all these young kids endure all that punishment, who has to deal with them? She does. And I just think punishment that extensive doesn't inspire fear in the kids, it inspires deviousness and skepticism. Before she knows it those kids are going to be clawing at the walls to try and get out of there.


Anonymous said...

If four hours of homework per night is not an exaggeration, there is something not right. This could be something on the teacher's side of things or Reed's. Let the teacher know that this homework is taking so long. If he/she says essentially "tough cookies", I would say that a joint meeting with the teacher and the principal or asst principal or counselor is in order. You are right that such a large volume of work is unacceptable and actually detrimental to the child. Of course I know from first-hand experience that sometimes children misperceive things that teachers tell them or forget that they have work until it is almost due. So it is important to go into these meetings with an open mind that perhaps my child misunderstood or is partially at fault(sometimes teachers make the work in class available so students won't feel left out).

If somehow Reed is taking a lot longer than other students to complete the same amount of work, you can ask for an accomodation that reduces the work volume for him.

Of course sometimes teachers are just oblivious to the fact that such a large amount of work is irrational. I remember in highschool (which I know Reed is not in) I had a teacher that told us we should expect 1-2 hours of homework per night for each class that we took. This was a math class, so I did the math in my head. I was taking 7 classes with no break that year. Assuming that on average I would have 1.5 hours of homework per night in each class, I could expect 10.5 hours of homework per day. Considering I would not arrive home until 4 p.m. if I started right away I would be finished by around 2:30 a.m. allowing me to sleep for about 3 hours until I had to begin getting ready for school. Of course if I had a lot of homework in each class I would have to forego sleep and possibly be late for school. Thanks Ms. Howell.

Anonymous said...

I think anonymous knows his or her stuff!

Philosophically, this does inspire boredom with life. It's a bit too early to begin to associate life with a constant grind with constant pressure. It seems it'll jade them--they shouldn't have to experience life in this way until they've got bills, etc...