Teachers Disagree About Holiday Homework


Lara DePauw

Justin Knapp giving a distressed student homework over break.

We can assume that the majority of students don’t enjoy having homework assigned during the holidays. But what are the opinions of those who are able to assign it to them? At BSM, many teachers have their own viewpoint on whether or not homework should be given to students over break.

Although Latin teacher Rob Epler does assign homework, he explains that it is a quick 15-20 minute assignment–something that he would usually assign for homework after class anyways. A vital reason for this is due to the fact that there is a lot of work to cover, and a pace needs to be kept in order to stay on track. In addition, students remember the material more if they are able to continue learning. “I do expect them to be back mentally. I understand that’s not always easy. It’s certainly not easy for their teachers either. [But] we have a curriculum to follow. It’s kind of the reality of life in general,” Epler said.

Anne Marie Dominguez, English teacher at BSM, agrees with Epler. She tries to be aware about the amount of homework, but she does hand out assignments only to keep progressing through the year’s workload. Dominguez explains that with the many days off that the school has had this year and the schedule changes, it has been hard to stay on track. However, she acknowledges that students need their off-days. “Everyone’s at the end of the semester and [during] the two weeks people are wrapping up things. We’re usually not doing anything too hard,” Dominguez said.

I think free time is important for everyone…but you also have to get the workload taken care of

— Fred Bandel

Contrastingly, math teacher John Groess does not like to assign homework to his students. He plans his courses so that he can finish up a unit or major part before the break so that he can let his students relax over the holidays. Groess believes that breaks are necessary to prevent life from becoming a constant repetition of monotonous work. “I think it’s good for their mental health. That’s why we all take a break. We just sometimes need a break to let our mind and body recover,” Groess said.

Fred Bandel, a social studies teacher, has multiple perspectives. Even though he generally does not assign homework, he recognizes that there are instances when the class is not as far along as he would like them to be in their work. In this case, he will pivot and assign work to stay on track. However, he notes that whether he gives homework or not hasn’t made much of a difference in the attitudes of his students after they return from class. “I think free time is important for everyone…but you also have to get the workload taken care of,” Bandel said.

Benilde-St. Margaret’s teacher’s understand the students’ needs for a break and reflect that value through the little to no work they assign over breaks. Those who do assign it are mindful of how much they give out, and make sure to keep it at a manageable level. Both consistency and rest are important factors in student life, and teachers balance both of these needs.