Recently (just before the Christmas break) I posted this:
As you’d expect the replies to this were quite mixed. Some were in favour & some were against setting homework over the holidays:
Interestingly the majority of those that were setting homework seemed to either be GCSE or A-Level teachers preparing their students for exams:
But what about the other year groups? Do they not need to prepare for assessments? Have they already had their assessments?
I know my KS3 students have had their assessments so they don’t need to prepare for them, however I now have a raft of really useful data about what content I’ve taught that they can & can’t apply in an assessment. Surely the break is a time in which they can brush up on some this content?
Some of the replies suggest that whole school policy is that no homework is set over the holidays:
It was even suggested by some that setting homework is actually a bad thing because the students have earned/deserve a break (which they have/do):
This particular tweet suggests that holidays mean doing nothing more than relaxing & resting. This tweet is not unique in its sentiment:
Now I have no problem with those teachers who choose to not set homework but to suggest that we set homework without any thought for the students’ well-being seems to be a bit judgemental to me, this tweet would imply that whilst we might set homework for the students we teachers won’t be doing any work over the holidays, my response:
So whilst I am on “holiday” I’m still going to be working, I imagine that most teachers work over their “holidays” at some point, that doesn’t mean we won’t be relaxing, choosing when & for how long we work though.
This was one of the more interesting tweets I came across, yes, it is important to switch off & rest but surely that can be achieved even with some work to be completed over the holidays? Does homework create more stress? This year especially I feel that I need to rest over this holiday but I still intend on doing some work, not to mention all the little jobs around the house that need doing (that don’t get done during term time), the aforementioned wardrobes for instance!
This response is one for me that really hits the nail on the head. As I’ve already mentioned, teachers indeed take a break over their “holidays” but that doesn’t involve locking all the school work in their classroom & leaving it until they get back after the break, relaxing & taking a break doesn’t necessarily involve downing tools & not working at all. The idea of practice is a key component to why I choose to set homework over the holidays. Personally I have a number of hobbies, one of which is painting table top gaming miniatures, I find that if I don’t practice the skills I have spent many years building up & learning then my skill & ability with them diminish. Surely this is the same for those (maths) skills my students are learning?
To answer my own question, yes I have set homework for ALL my year groups, nothing onerous, maybe two hours worth over the entire two weeks or 9 minutes a day. My students aren’t revising for assessments, they’ve had theirs (& mocks for year 11), so I’ve set them to choose six topics that they haven’t quite mastered (my students get detailed PLCs after every assessment). This means they are brushing up on content that they already have some ability with & then complete the hegartymaths.com clip I’ve assigned to each topic area, this means that they have instant access to help with the topic as well. Do I want my students to relax? Yes. Do I want them to have a stress free holiday? Yes. Do I want them to practice their maths skills? Yes. In my opinion these things are not mutually exclusive.