Holidays are times for students to relax and rejuvenate. Although some excellent teachers disagree with me, I don’t think teachers should assign homework over vacations. (My one exception to this rule is for summer reading.)
This morning we are returning to school after a full week of Thanksgiving vacation. What a blessing to have an entire week off! For years the district where I teach granted students three days of vacation and two days for teachers. A few years ago they rearranged the calendar so we could have a break over the entire week. What a great idea. Whereas in the past teachers and students were “sucking wind” to survive until final exams that were administered a few days before Christmas, this morning we will return to class happier, rested, and perhaps a little heavier.
If we give homework over the holidays, even homework that only takes an hour or two, we defeat part of the purpose of vacations. While it’s true that we could wedge in another novel or another paper if kids read and write over the holidays, do we really need to do that?
When I left my classroom on Friday, the week before Thanksgiving, I also left behind all of my school work. Yes, I still had some work to do but nothing that couldn’t wait until after the holidays. I wanted my students to have that same privilege.
When my students arrive in a little over an hour, I want them happy, rested, and ready to learn!