Hectic Holidays: Teachers Assigning Work over Breaks

To most kids, holiday breaks are a time to relax, catch up with their family, and enjoy many seasonal activities. Lots of students at North Point view breaks as a “homework-free” school year interruption. However, many students are assigned homework over holiday breaks, and it seems to be an ever-growing issue within the student community.

Every student has his or her own opinion on whether or not assignments should be given out over holiday breaks. “As long as it’s not an overwhelming amount of work, I don’t really have a problem with it,” said Danielle Stone (’13). Many teachers tend to give extra credit or small, almost meaningless assignments over holiday breaks, so their students still have the opportunity to take a quick pause, and relax after many busy weeks of school.

It is also said that if teachers want to have a relaxing break as well, then they shouldn’t assign students homework. “They don’t want to have to grade anything over breaks, so why should they assign us work that will need to be graded?” said Chris Betton (’12).

Some students do understand where the teachers are coming from, but still really don’t agree with having to do assignments during their relaxation time. Betton said,  “I know that doing work over breaks is supposed to keep our minds working, and keep us involved in whatever we’re learning about at the time, but we always put it off until the last minute anyways, so why would a holiday break be any different?”

Not all students are assigned homework over holiday breaks, but it seems to be more common for students who are taking Advanced Placement courses. Surprisingly to some students, AP teachers want to work with their kids so they can both have a refreshing holiday break, but it just isn’t that simple.

“We really do try to avoid giving work over holiday breaks as much as possible. That’s why larger projects, such as independent reading are due the week before break for this year’s students,” said AP Literature teacher Mrs. Kirby. “We make things like that due before break even begins so that there is minimal work to even possibly assign over breaks.”

What some students may not understand, is that sometimes, teachers may not have a choice but to give even a small assignment over a holiday break. Kirby said, “The difficult thing about second quarter is that the Board of Education wants to allot time for the quarter to be equal to the others, so it doesn’t end until January. However, interim grades are due rather soon before Winter break, so several teachers try to fit every possible assignment into their grade books.”

So when it comes down to the “behind-the-scenes” issue of receiving assignments over holiday breaks, remember that most teachers understand where students are coming from, because they want the same relaxing break as their students. In turn, as Stone said, “A break is a break for a reason,” so enjoy the holiday season, and relax over this year’s Winter break!