An Open Letter to Teachers

school

 

Ohm S.

Dear teachers,

You probably know the struggles that Westmount kids maintain on a daily basis. Consistent homework, extracurricular activities and rapid lives that all fly by in an instant. As a student who believes that some of this often contradicts with schoolwork, I would like to point out some things that you guys can do to help us cope with school. This will point out some flaws in teaching, but if that is what it takes to make Westmount great again, so be it.

Firstly, we have homework. The bane of every student’s existence, whether it be at home, or at school 5 minutes before the class. Either way, there are some key flaws that plague us with too much of it. Firstly, do you guys have a pact or something to make all homework due the same day? It seems that all homework that ever gets assigned *happens* to be due on the same day every. single. time. Now the problem here is that either the student does not do work in class (which is understandable) or that the teachers give out too much homework. As a student who works in class, I personally believe that homework is often too extensive. There are simple solutions to this which seem pretty to understand but no teacher I have seen yet seems to know which is pretty weird because i have been to 10 different schools. There is a golden rule for assigning homework. Never have more than one assignment due at the same time and make sure that every due date is at least 3 days apart and you give at least 3 days to work on it. This is special to Westmount as we have 4 blocks per day. Currently, approximately 3 of 4 daily classes have homework associated with them. If all 3 of those classes assigned homework on the same day using the rule above, a student would have at least one day to work on each assignment independently.

The rule is really quite simple, and requires minimal effort from teachers to implement. Now even if one day isn’t enough for little Johnny over here, one work block and one day should be more than enough to complete one day’s worth of homework. Also, an important thing to keep in mind is that the rules above are minimum requirements and factoring in weekends can give us more than one day to work on bigger assignments. Another factor that plays into the rule is that students get work time on the day they are assigned the homework. This gives time to ask any potential questions and clear misunderstandings, which is often what students have trouble with. Lastly, never in my opinion, should the lesson plan of a teacher have homework on it. Homework should only be work that was unable to be completed in class and not something that should be planned.

Next, we have lessons. Lessons and lectures are important parts of learning, and should be incorporated into more classes. Right now, students only ever get lessons and get taught what they need to learn that way about once a week. Lectures are one of the most powerful ways of teaching ideas and rather than teaching separately from the textbook during lectures, incorporate the ideas from the book into the lessons they teach. For example, during social studies, project the textbook onto a screen and read with the students while explaining key points of key events. Or during math, you could explain concepts and do the questions from the textbook while teaching to help students understand what questions mean and how to interpret them rather than just explaining the concepts.

Lastly, we have tests. The number one cause of stress related injuries in the whole world. Tests are like a double edged sword, they test knowledge of key topics while adding pressure to already hectic student routines. Studying for tests is a key part, and study guides created by teachers are one of the most fundamental tools to learn more and perform better. First off, tests should be based on assignments done in class, and not just memorizing a textbook. The deeper level of understanding that a student gains during an assignment often better than what the textbook can provide. Designing assignments that create the foundations of knowledge to be tested on is also an important part. On an assignment, a student knows everything they have done and why they have done it, which makes remembering this stuff much easier.

To conclude, there are many things teachers can do with how they treat homework, assignments and tests that will better address the needs of how many students learn. These steps are clearly not to be implemented all at once, but through small steps we can easily make school a better place for all.

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