The first individual that I chose to interview from my internal publics was an individual who has been working at my current school for over 20 years. She started off as a Kindergarten teacher for many years. Then, she became the Literacy Coach, served as an assistant principal for one year, before stepping down to become the Literacy Coach once again. She is a mother of three beautiful girls, and happens to be one of my most adored colleagues. When I first started there, she was someone I could always turn to and confide in. She is still someone I run to with any questions, concerns, or when I need a shoulder to lean on. She is extremely knowledgeable, experienced, and truly the best at what she does. She has a caring and warm demeanor, and everyone who encounters her, can’t help but love her. I decided to interview her, not only because of her years of experience, but I knew she would be truthful and honest with her responses.
Some of the questions I asked her about homework policies or practices included, “Do you believe homework should be given out? Why or Why not? When is the best time to assign homework (i.e. Weekdays & Weekends; Weekdays Only; Weekends Only)? What strategies do you find effective in getting students to do their homework? Do you think grade levels and age should affect the amount of homework assigned per night?” She believes homework should be given out to reinforce and extend learning. She prefers to give homework that students can complete successfully independently. She stated, “At times, students may be struggling with a concept, and they shouldn’t go home and complete it incorrectly because it will only cause them to memorize the incorrect way that they completed it. Also, some parents are uncomfortable with the new strategies being taught, especially in math, and may not be able to help their child, or they may confuse them even further.” She believes homework should be given on weekdays only, as weekends should be spent with family making memories, even though reading should be done nightly. The strategies she finds effective in getting students to do their homework are complimenting students who complete their homework. She also believes in complimenting the students who tried to complete it, even though they may not demonstrate mastery of the concept. She stated, “When I was in the classroom, I didn’t give them any rewards for completing their homework. They were aware that homework was part of the daily routine, so they didn’t expect a reward.” Lastly, she did agree that grade levels and age should affect the amount of homework assigned per night. She mentioned how the attention span and stamina of a child in a lower grade may be different from a child in an upper grade.
The second individual I chose to interview from my internal publics was a classroom teacher that I have worked with for the past 3 years. She taught 4th grade, and is currently a 5th grade teacher, who just looped up with her students. She is one of the newer teachers in our school, and someone I think very highly of and truly respect. Even though I may have been working at this school longer than her, I have learned a lot just from observing her in the classroom, as well as, collaborating with her when working with my SETSS students. She is well-liked by the principal, her colleagues, parents, and most importantly, the students.
I asked my second individual the same questions as my first individual because I was truly interested in comparing their responses. She also believed that homework should be given out, but it doesn’t need to be overwhelming. She feels that homework should target specific skills that the teacher knows needs refinement. She thinks the heavy grinding work should be in school under the guidance of the teacher. She stated, “We teach scholars specific techniques and strategies that many parents are unfamiliar with. Often, when they step in, it adds confusion. That said, there are broader skills like spelling, sentence formation, basic multiplication and division, and retelling events that seem to always need refinement. Those skills should be refined at home via homework.” Unlike my first interviewee, she believes that weekdays are best for certain assignments, and weekends for others. If sending home appropriate homework, students shouldn’t need that much support to complete it throughout the week. However, she does feel that one reasonable mini-project is fair, but loading on a ton of work over the weekend is not okay. She said, “Think about the things you, the teacher, must get done on the weekend, it’s not a lack of priority, but the weekday doesn’t allow everyone to take care of important business. Often, you must wait until Saturday. On Sunday, many children participate in some form of worship. We need to be mindful of that.” The strategies she finds effective in getting students to do their homework is very similar to my first interviewee. She offers bonus points on Class Dojo, as well as, regular acclamation. She does not believe in bribing her scholars to do their homework. In the interview, she stated, “They are in 5th grade, and I am teaching them that homework is a part of their brand, and it is their duty to refine their brand.” Lastly, she also strongly believed that grade levels and age should affect the amount of homework assigned per night.