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The Catalyst

The Student News Site of Millard West High School

The Catalyst

The Student News Site of Millard West High School

The Catalyst

Beyond busywork

Teachers share their opinion on homework
Ariana Griffin
Language arts teacher James Grachek allows his students some free time to get their work done. “In my classes, the only homework I consistently assign is reading,” Grachek said. “Otherwise, I prefer to have students learn and practice skills in the classroom so they can use me and their peers as resources if they don’t understand a concept. Students may occasionally have to catch up on work they didn’t finish or work on an ongoing project at home, but otherwise, I don’t design assignments specifically as homework.”

There have always been opposing opinions concerning homework in school, but as the schedule changes, the amount of homework becomes more important, considering students have gone from four classes at a time to eight.

According to Grade Power, over 56% of all students claim homework is the main reason they stress over school. On the other hand, it is argued that homework can help students improve their understanding of the material.

“The nature and reason for the homework are the determining factors–not the homework itself,” language arts teacher Michael Catron said. “In an AP English class, it is beneficial to have students do their reading outside of class so we can use class time to build skills. It’s also useful for students to write outside of class. It’s difficult to have an engaging conversation with students who haven’t done the assigned reading. Practicing skills as homework might not ‘improve’ understanding directly–but it creates opportunities for me to give students feedback on their understanding. So a student who does an assignment well can know she understands the concept and a student who does poorly receives direct instruction to help her improve.”

The amount of homework assigned in a class is based on the subject. Classes that are prepping a student for college may assign more homework than a class that isn’t. Catron assigns homework based on a college-type load. This ends up being about 20-60 minutes a day, two to four days a week. Other classes and teachers have different expectations for homework.

I do feel a small amount of homework can help with student learning of the current topic in the course,” Psychology teacher Mark Klein said. “I usually give them the last part of each class to do some of it ahead of time. With the new schedule, I try to keep the amount on the lighter side. The end goal is for students to perform well on exams, projects, and general overall knowledge. I realize no student wants or likes homework, but if used correctly, it should have a positive result.”

Some teachers try their best not to assign homework to students. Homework can be beneficial to students in certain classes, such as math and reading, but in other cases, it’s not so. 

Sometimes, it helps with academic outcomes, but sometimes, it’s just a source of unnecessary stress and frustration,” debate teacher James Grachek said. “It’s important that students engage with their studies, but there should be a balance to avoid harm to their physical, mental, and social well-being.”

Teachers try their best to leave options open for students who are struggling with their homework. Flex time and after-school leave time are open for students to request this help, but if a student never asks for help, the teacher doesn’t know she/he needs it. As the year continues, homework will adjust to the now eight-class schedule that Millard West has transitioned to.

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About the Contributor
Ariana Griffin
Ariana Griffin, Staff Reporter
As a senior, this is Ana's second year on the CATalyst staff. She was previously the Online Editor-in-Chief for the CATalyst website and worked with the radio as part of the High School Radio Project. Ana looks forward to writing compelling stories and interviewing new people. Outside of journalism, Ana enjoys drawing, writing, reading and video games. She looks forward to getting to know the rest of the staff and working together with them to produce new and interesting content.

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