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Indeed, I look back with fondness on friends whose constant failure to even attempt the set homework was matched only by the constantly poor excuses they offered to the teacher: ‘some homeless guy on the bus’ (who presumably had a profound interest in long-shore drift) ‘stole it’ remains my personal favorite.
For a guitar-obsessed teenager who would invest more time in the Play Station than in any given chemistry or biology textbook, homework was always going to take a back seat, as it did amongst my peers.
This, in part, must be explained by the more experienced teachers’ ability to condense their lessons to fit the curriculum – a good working-system for achieving grades, but one not suitable for education in its own right.
Short of introducing an outright ban, a more effective system at least would be for us to invest more time coordinating amongst ourselves to make sure that we’re neither setting too much homework at the same time nor overlapping on test dates.
It favors the children of the wealthy and educated not by educating their children, but by ensuring they tick boxes, achieve grades and are taught competition.
There will always be parents who’ll ask for more homework to be assigned and who’ll rally against attempts to curtail the already almost impossible workload, confident in the belief that stunts to their children’s development, their short-term suffering, will be compensated by their future prosperity. Without wanting to be completely utilitarian, it’s our duty as educators, parents and general enforcers of homework to question the merit of what we’re asking our children to do.