I’ve been thinking of banning homework on weekends, but I can’t get myself to make the move. After all, if there’s no homework on weekends, that really means there’s no homework on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays — nearly half the week!
On the other hand, even if I assign homework, that doesn’t mean my students will do it. Take a look at the bar graph below, which shows homework completion over the past couple weeks — and which clearly demonstrates the weekend homework slump.
You could make the argument that because my students mostly do not do homework on the weekend, I am punishing them and actively creating failure in my classroom. After all, I don’t have a strong enough way to encourage them to complete homework on the weekends. My text reminders and phone calls don’t seem to work.
Another idea is to create an alternative to weekend homework. That’s partly what I’m trying to do with Weekenders this year. Instead of your normal homework assignment, I’ve been having students write posts on our class website, iseroma.com. I particularly like this week’s assignment, which encourages students to read something other than our class novel.
But even though Weekenders seem more fun than other assignments, the turn-in rate still isn’t particularly high. And that’s why tonight, I’m feeling like a failure. Sure, I could text my students again, prod them, encourage them, even call them up, but I don’t much feel like it.
Sometimes, I’m ineffective, and instead of working immediately to fix the problem, it’s OK to do some thinking and figure out what’s next.