By Catherine Van Weele and Alexa Bleth
This school year, Novato High students are feeling swamped by the amount of homework given each night by their teachers. For many classes, especially AP courses, students receive several hours of homework each night. This can be extremely hard to manage, especially with extracurriculars and jobs.
“Honestly, it’s too much,” said junior Kyle Friend. “It’s enough where I don’t sleep at all.”
Friend is currently taking three AP classes: Chemistry, U.S. History, and English. On average, he does about three hours of homework per day.
“It is really hard for me to do all my homework because I play soccer and I work three days a week,” junior Loralie Curtis said.
Curtis is currently on the girls varsity soccer team, has a part-time job, and takes four AP classes: Biology, U.S History, English, and Spanish.
Although there are other activities students have to do after school, teachers find homework necessary to fit in all the content throughout the school year.
“I think in AP it gives the teacher a place to start from in class,” Social Studies teacher Jason Searle said. “I found that students that do the reading and do the homework come to class far more prepared and ready to discuss in class. The AP curriculum is so broad and has so many things we are looking at, it becomes necessary to have that balance between work outside of the classroom and work inside the classroom.”
Many teachers try to take extra-curricular activities and assignments from other classes into consideration when assigning homework. However, there are times when multiple major assignments from different classes are due on the same day.
“On nights when I have so many assignments, I don’t go to bed until 3:00 in the morning,” said Curtis.
There has been talk among teachers about creating a Google Classroom calendar that would allow teachers to see other major assignments going on with their students. This would allow teachers to assign projects without overloading their students with multiple assignments.
“If Google had the feedback that schools were using Google Classroom across the board, I think Google would write software that would allow us to see assignments from other teachers,” Searle said.
Science teacher John Dick agrees that Google Classroom could be helpful and improve communication.
“It would be nice to be more aware of other assignments,” said Dick, “but inevitably, there are things that overlap.”
Not only can the amount of homework be problematic, but also the material itself is can be unproductive.
“A lot of the work I get is just busy work. It’s a waste of my time,” said senior Maxwell Kehs.
Teachers try to assign homework they find will be useful for students, however sometimes students feel like it has no benefits.
“I think teachers need to ask why they are assigning it,” Social Studies teacher Timothy Mahoney said.
Some worksheets and readings are often found to be repetitive busywork.
“I assign homework as needed,” said English teacher Joanne Leith. “I don’t necessarily have the philosophy that it is helpful to do something every single night as far as busy work, but I think it holds students accountable as far as time management goes and finishing assignments on their own.”
Homework can be overwhelming at times, but more communication between teachers and students can allow homework to become beneficial.
“It builds responsibility of students to make sure they know what they need to do,” Dick said.