I don’t usually write about work, so you might need some background information to understand this post. The TESOL program currently has 3 cohorts. I usually refer to them as first year, second year, & third year students. The first year students are freshmen, the 2nd year students are sophomores, and the 3rd year students are juniors. It probably seems like I’m stating the obvious when I clarify that last part, but it actually causes a fair amount of confusion here. Our program just started 3 years ago. The 3rd year students were the very first cohort in the TESOL program. Some people at KKU refer to them as the “first year students” because they were the first students in the TESOL program. But not me. To me, the first year students are always the freshmen and the third year students are always the juniors.
Now you’re ready to read the post!
Last week one of my third year students told me that the second year students have been saying that I assign “so much” homework. I asked if they were complaining about my class, and she said that they actually like all the hard work because they know they need to work hard to learn English. By the way, I LOVE the 2nd year students for that! They always work hard and have really good attitudes. Sometimes, when I’m aware that I’m assigning an unusually large amount of homework, I ask if they need more time or if I should cancel one of the assignments. They always say “No, it’s ok. We can do it!”
After the 3rd year student told me about what the 2nd year students have been saying about my homework assignments, I asked her if she thinks I give too much homework. The 3rd year students, as a group, are nothing like the 2nd year students. They don’t always have that same fondness for learning. So I expected her to say “Yes! It’s way too much!”. Instead she said that I don’t give too much, but that it’s really a lot compared to all of the other teachers.
It hadn’t occurred to me before then that I was expecting so much more out of students than everyone else. I’ve reflected on the homework I assign and I’m confident that it’s not useless busywork. I will continue to assign a lot of homework.
The bad thing about assigning a lot of homework is that you have to grade it all. My resolution this semester is to always return students’ papers within a week. That means I need to do some grading tonight. So I’m heading out right now. I’m going to go to a nearby coffee shop where I’ll have a cup of tea and grade some papers.