I Got 99 Problems and Homework Ain’t One

Luci Garza, Staffer

This school year, LASA administration instituted a new policy of No Homework Nights. Once every six weeks, typically at the end of the grading period, teachers are required to give students no homework. No Homework Nights were initiated to give students a mental break at the end of the six weeks and allow them to prepare for the grading period ahead.

No Homework Nights and No Homework Weekends are practiced in other school districts, like Eanes ISD, but LASA is one of the first schools in AISD to promote this policy. At LASA, a school with a reputation for a rigorous curriculum and heavy homework loads, many teachers like english teacher Jonathan Hines believe that a break from homework is a necessary and vital part of student’s health. Hines is in full support of these homework breaks. He said he is still learning how to be a teacher, but he sees the impact No Homework Nights have on his students.

“It’s interesting planning for the week around the No Homework Night,” Hines said. “It was frustrating because we do have stuff that we have to get done and places we need to be in the unit, but we manage to work with the No Homework Night because we understand how important it is.”

According to Hines, even though the No Homework Nights can interrupt planning of the curriculum, they are worth it. Hines believes these breaks from homework can even facilitate learning.

“The biggest complaint we get is that the students have a massive amount of work and we want y’all to get something out of it,” Hines said. “If you keep doing work and have no break, soon the work you’re doing is just going to frustrate you more than it is doing good.”

Hines is a supporter of the No Homework Nights policy because he acknowledges how difficult English I can be. According to Hines, the No Homework Nights give students a break from this work and make it so they are better able to do future assignments.

“English I seems to have less strenuous homework than the other classes, but we do ask a lot of students when it comes to formatting and making sure that the work they do is produced in the right way, and that they meet all the different steps that we have,” Hines said. “It can be a lot, but it’s never mentally exhausting.”

Freshman Marit Peterson experienced No Homework Nights for the first time this year, as many middle schools do not offer them to students.

“The idea of them really helps, and they give other students, including me, something to look forward to,” Peterson said. “I didn’t have a lot of homework in middle school, and now I have a lot of homework in all of my classes.”

Peterson said he experienced a dramatic increase in the amount of homework assigned from middle school to high school. According to Peterson, the No Homework Nights made the transition into freshman year easier to manage.

“The only No Homework Nights I had in middle school were because the homework load was already so light,” Peterson said. “I feel like the homework load adjustment from 8th grade to this year is at a 7, with 10 being the worst.”

The amount of homework a student receives revolves around the classes they take. Advanced Forensic Science and Pre-AP Chemistry teacher Shontel Willie recognizes that sophomore year chemistry can be a homework-intensive course.

“Chemistry does have some challenging and rigorous concepts,” Willie said. “There are some students who get all of their practice problems done in class, and then there are some students who have to take it home with them.”

Chemistry was recently redesigned so that it was less lecture-based and allowed students to work in different ways at their own pace. This was a relatively new idea to the chemistry department, but Willie said she has already seen a better outcome in students.

“We know that you are all different learners, so we wanted to give you the ability on how you want to acquire your information and the pace at which you want to do it,” Willie said. “Whereas before I was rushing through a lecture or my lecture was too long, now it’s at your own pace.”

Despite teaching a class she said is known for large homework loads and challenging lessons, Willie is in favor of No Homework Nights. She believes that No Homework Nights are necessary for students.

“I am for No Homework Nights or No Homework Weekends,” Willie said. “I believe everybody needs a break.”