24/7 World

Disclaimer: I do not know the answer. I cannot predict how this will play out. I only know that it is important to think about.

When I was in school thirty some years ago, I did my homework, more like endured my homework, because believed it would lead me to a life of work where I would go to work and then after the work day ended be free to do whatever I wanted. My evenings and weekends would be my own. The fact that I ended up teaching, which has never been a 9-5 job is a little ironic. I entered this profession fulling expecting to work after hours.

What I have come to notice is that I am not alone in this. Sure, there have always been people who kept long hours, but now that seems to be the norm. On vacation this summer with family, the beach house was humming with Internet connected devices at all hours, Some of it was social, but a lot of it was work. More than half of the adults did work during the week. Nobody saw it as odd or troubling. There was some lamenting, but generally it was pretty well accepted. So, do our students know that they are enduring our homework as training for the expectations of the working world?

Lately, there seems to be more and more discussion about reducing homework load. The evidence that homework does not markedly improve achievement seems compelling. Kids should have some down time so that they are refreshed. We do not want them to burn out. They should enjoy school and want to learn. All of that is really important but I wonder what happens when they get to the “real world”?

Will the working world follow the trends in education? Will employers realize that family time and down time are more important than 20% time? Will our students demand changes of the system that is overly demanding? Or will they comply and look back fondly to the less complicated, more humane school days? I wonder about these things. But enough for now. After a morning Twitter chat and some professional reading, I am done for now.

It is time for me to get ready to go watch my children play soccer, without my phone on. Excuse any typos – I do not want to be late.

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