Monday, March 8, 2010

Homework: A teacher's vengeance for sending your kids to school...

I have a confession to make. I hate homework. I hate assigning it. I hate checking it. And most importantly, I hate supervising it's completion at home.

Before I had children, I was always cognizant of parents. I thought I tried my best to send home the least amount of homework possible. Every once in a while, I would send home a project (hey, I saw that cringe from all the way over here!) to spice things up. I would wonder why parents couldn't control their children long enough to complete whatever I had sent home. After all, didn't I get them to complete a multitude of assignments during the school day?

And then I had kids.

And my kids ended up in advanced classes. With lots of homework...

Yes, Virginia, God has a REALLY sick sense of humor...

I will let all of you giggle and smugly think that I got what I had coming to me. Because I did. Boy, am I paying dearly!

It's like spending five years in prison for every homework offense, and there are literally HUNDREDS of offenses.

Let me tell you that it is infinitely worse when these teachers are your colleagues and friends. Because you can't mutter obscenities that could be repeated in the classroom the next day. Because you must defend the teacher's right to assign the homework to your spouse in front of your children while you silently seethe at their gall. Don't they know that you have expounded all your energy on other people's children, getting them to understand new concepts and complete a multitude of work?

But the absolute worst is actually getting these intelligent children to sit and finish it. A simple 20 minute assignment can turn into HOURS, (yes, HOURS) of torture for child and parent. Because you know that they can finish it in half the time assigned for it if THEY JUST SAT AND STOPPED COMPLAINING.

And my children, they are complainers...of the worst kind. They whine. Endlessly, tirelessly, eloquently, infinitely, loudly. Oh, yes, dear readers. I AM paying DEARLY.

They play all kinds of tricks. First, they MUST go to the bathroom and spend at least 20 minutes in there. I don't think that they have intestinal problems. I think that they are hiding.

Then comes the taking out of the homework assignments from the book bag. This ceremony can take at least 10 to 15 minutes, depending on how bad they want to prolong the agony. Then, the pencil sharpening. Again, it can take forever.

Next, they move on to the big time: what to do. Clearly, these children who can read several levels above their respective grade cannot be forced to understand what their assignment is. After several rounds of "But the teacher never said what to do" or "We've never done this in class", they grumble on their way back to the dining room table, determined to have the last laugh...and they usually do.

I understand, now, all too well, the vacant look and emotionless voice that comes out of parents' mouths when describing how little Johnny reacts to homework. I wonder how many parents stalked me and talked themselves out of running me over in the teacher's parking lot.

I am ashamed of what I have forced other parents to endure.

Of course, I have realized the error of my ways. It is too late for my two older sons to be spared this punishment. But I am trying to make amends. I am trying to make sure that when Joshua starts Kindergarten, I will have paid up for my mistakes. Really, I am...

In an effort to make up for my sins as a teacher, my students (and parents) have been relieved of homework assignments this week because of the BIG TEST. My students let out a collective yelp of victory this afternoon when I announced this.

I am willing to bet that many a parent let out an even louder yelp this evening and is praying that this week goes by REALLY slowly...despite of the testing...


  1. OH GOSH!! I am going to be in lots of trouble because I have always given "those damn projects" as HW. It wasn't until I saw "your kids" go through it that I realized the kind of bad karma that I put out there. What do the HW gods have in store for me?

  2. So funny, Maria! I have one of each - a whiner and complainer who will dawdle forever trying to stall on doing his homework, and a zippy little girl who will rush through her assignments doing big projects MONTHS ahead of time, sometimes sloppily. Yet, done. But I love this thing I didn't know about: the tension that can come from being a fellow teacher and realizing that they teach and assign differently than you and you pay the price as a parent! That is illuminating and funny!

  3. I'm so with you on this one. I am paying dearly for all of the homework I ever assigned when I taught. The whining...oy vey. It's torture.

  4. My oldest is in Kindergarten and I can only imagine what I am in for as she gets older....

  5. I'm giggling nervously because I know my homework karma is waiting for me once my boys start school. Now that I'm a parent, I can't imagine what I was thinking giving so much homework to my students!

  6. I will have hours of homework coming to me after teaching for twenty year. Stopping from SITS!

  7. Damn. And to think all this time I've been counting down to elementary school. I should've known things would only get harder!

    (Great post, BTW.)


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