Hours of assignments

Should teachers continue assigning homework despite learning virtually?

Students+are+loaded+with+piles+of+papers+and+online+assignments.+

Colette Reitenour

Students are loaded with piles of papers and online assignments.

Colette Reitenour, Illustrator

It’s an almost unanimous decision that Capo students are not fans of homework. Even during the pre-coronavirus school years, homework has not been adored by its receivers. Now, with the majority of learning being done through the computer, these out-of-class assignments are under even more scrutiny. 

According to Pew Research, in a study published in 2018, teenagers 12 through 18 spend an average of nine hours a day online. Granted, some of this time is already dedicated to school work, but assigning homework on top of the mandatory six hours of class time is only leaving students glued to their computers for lengthier periods of time. 

“I spend pretty much my entire day on my computer and phone, and usually only have a couple hours of free time away,” Junior Eva Bloom explained. “I spend so many hours sitting behind my desk, I wish I had more time to get away from technology.” 

With the freedoms of virtual learning, there are fewer distractions during class. Students no longer have to disrupt their teachers and classmates when entering class late, using the restroom or for cell phone interruptions. This allows for more time in class to complete tasks and assignments. 

Even with the lack of disruption in class, many battle with distraction when it comes to homework. With businesses’ doors closed and many working from home, students are often forced to share their space with parents and siblings. These extra bodies can make it exceedingly difficult to maintain focus. 

Some argue that with the lack of lunches there is less time to offer aid to struggling students, thus encroaching on valuable class time, however, tutorials offer 31 minutes for this exact reason. 

“I really like using tutorials. I can really focus on the kids that need my help and let the rest go, as opposed to in-person where everyone is stuck with me,” Math teacher Teresa Miller shared. 

With less assigned, students are more likely to study what is relevant to them personally and gain a better grasp on concepts they may be struggling with. Many teachers have implemented this strategy, giving less of what is usually considered homework, and favoring study materials.  

“If I have to spend hours doing homework for a class, I’m not going to stay up all night studying. On days where it’s not as much, I’m so much more likely to do the extra enrichment,” junior Hailey Hernandez shared. 

Finally, the pandemic has placed a lot of stress upon students. Financial hardships due to the recession can put a lot of weight on students’ shoulders. The stay at home orders issued in March have had a large impact on the social aspect of their lives, too, causing a lot of distress for many. This has detrimental impacts on mental health, and for those struggling, it can be near impossible to complete assignments.  

It is true that homework develops organizational skills, forces students to apply their learning and provides practice, but I encourage teachers to pause their assignments until school returns to normal. 

Students are loaded with piles of papers and online assignments. (Colette Reitenour)