I’ll never forget one of my first back-to-school nights. I was in my classroom doing the usual meet-and-greet with parents when one of my students ambled into the room and before I could even begin the “h” in “hello,” he asked “Is there homework in this class?”
Knowing what to say yet not knowing how to reply, I gave him a confused-sounding “Yeah, sure there is,” and before I could say anything else he turned around and left the room.
On another back-to-school night, a parent asked me a question about the amount of homework I would have in my class and before I could answer launched into a long speech about students’ other commitments and being overscheduled and how I need to adjust my expectations if I was hoping to give a lot of homework. This time, I was a little more prepared and answered, “Well, this is advanced English so you should expect a decent amount of work at home, but I do my best to give due dates that students can work around and manage.”
And then there was this time when a parent saw that there were only a couple of grades in the gradebook at a certain point in the quarter and wanted to know why it seemed that everything seemed to be riding on an upcoming test and expressed concern that it was putting the “bad test takers” at a disadvantage. I said that there actually were graded assignments after the test which meant plenty more opportunities if that is what she was worried about, to which she replied that she didn’t understand why I wasn’t giving participation grades for my students’ reading and discussion.
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