Saturday, September 10, 2011


It's that very thing that creeps into your life and smothers you, a silent foe. It's in that casual, dismissive wave calling out to you just as you are about to leave. It's that thing that gets your heart rate climbing and turns your hands into fists ready to pound something out of pure frustration.
Yep, that's right. It's homework. That classic, time-old opponent faced by school-age kids for as long as school's been around.

Given in small doses, it's irksome but manageable. Given in large ones, it's absolutely smothering and frustrating and panic-inducing (especially projects in which I have to race to get the right supplies. I also have this irritating compulsion to make sure everything is perfect, especially if that project is for English).

This weekend I happen to have large doses of homework and it's virtually killing me. Usually I do my homework in one sitting but it was just too much (I multi-tasked and watched one of my favorite shows Criminal Minds online to make it more bearable and make me feel like I totally wasn't wasting my time).

I don't even see the point in it. I've been told we have to do it to "practice" and whatever but I don't see why we can't do it in school. Sometimes teachers seem to give us homework for the heck of it (in these cases, they never check it).

My English teacher last year had to put so much time into grading our Holocaust research papers and it's like, why? Not to sound offensive to anyone but it's harder to fully appreciate the horror of the Holocaust when you have to deal with all the stress of writing a paper on it (I know this shouldn't apply to me as a writer. I actually happened to be pretty passionate about my topic which was how the Holocaust compared to the Rwandan genocide. For all that worrying how much it sucked, I got an A on it). We'd get the point much better watching a super-sad movie on it (we did that too, kind of. It was about these kids in the South who were trying to collect six million paper clips to represent all of the Jews killed in the Holocaust and at one point Holocaust survivors came to the school and were talking about what they went through).

I've found that the better teachers I have don't give as much homework actually. It's not that I like them because they don't give homework (plenty of the teachers who left me confused in their classes were funny and cool to be around just not that great at teaching) but because they tend to actually teach us instead of having us teach ourselves. Instead of dumping all of these projects/homework sheets on us, they'll give one sheet at most or none at all.

I confess that homework is probably a bigger deal to me because of my computer/writing addiction and the pressure/anxiety I put on myself so it's probably says more about me than about any of the teachers I have. Still... Homework's never fun other learning disability because I'm sure this has always been a lot harder for those kids than it's ever been for me.

The sad part is I know it's only just begun. I don't know what I'll do when it gets to its maximum pace (I guess I'll start skipping the lesser assignments).

A lot of the reason I freak out about homework is because I'm worried that I'll screw it up. However, I've made a conscious decision to try not to worry about school this much this year. Grades are only letters and they're definitely not worth my mental sanity. They don't define who I am as a person or as a writer or as a friend. Sure, they may be important for college but it's not the end of the world if I don't get straight- A's. I don't want to think in terms of my GPA or my current percentage or anything like that. I just want to try. If I forget a homework assignment and it lowers my grade a little, I don't want to freak out about it or let it ruin my day.

In summary, homework sucks. Here's another pleas to any teacher possibly reading this. On behalf of all kids who have a learning disability or who are spazes/perfectionists like me or even who just have lives outside of school, please don't feel the need to dump a bunch of homework on your students. Please.

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