A six-day work week – for students

Most people have a five-day work week.  Now, I know that many people work more than the 35, 37 or even 40 hours per week mandated in their contract, and that it’s common to work through breaks and lunch to get the job done.

I would surmise though, that most of us feel that a five-day work week is about enough to be doing your employer’s work.  So why do we give our kids a six-day work week? From September unti June, students spend pretty well one day of the weekend on homework. This is work that “someone else” feels is important. I can see doing some self-directed activities, or perhaps the infrequent project on the weekend, but my observations show that most high school students have a six-day work week. This is on top of 8 to 12 hour work-days, Monday to Friday.

Come on, there’s more to life than school and we should all start raising a fuss [that’s why I’m raising this issue again]. Do we really want to have kids who know how to do nothing else other than what their teachers tell them to do?

How can they become self-directed learners when they’re too busy being directed by teachers?

10 Responses to “A six-day work week – for students”

  1. trench

    I’ve been teaching for 7 years now and I give homework 4 days a week. Monday through Thursday. I agree that weekends should be generally spent relaxing and spending time with family. I do give projects though that require weekend work once every quarter, but I think thats reasonable. So, yes I agree. Not everything a child does should relate to school work and be directed by teachers.

  2. Amanda Cockshutt

    Your comments are supported by the article in the G&M last week that said that: “Canadian teens ranked first among their counterparts in nine OECD countries in terms of average hours spent on unpaid and paid labour during the school week.

    Canadian teens averaged 7.1 hours of unpaid and paid labour per day in 2005 – a 50-hour work week”

    This number was made up of ” school work, homework, paid work and housework” and “Homework was the most time-consuming unpaid activity for teens, with 60 per cent averaging two hours, 20 minutes every day”.

  3. Daniel Lemire

    I wonder what you have to say about life in college?

    I went through my degree at UofT pretty much working 7 days a week. I do not think it is possible to get an A average in a science program at UofT without working at 6 days a week, even if you are incredibly brilliant.

    Ok, so you’ll argue against getting A averages? But then, how do you get scholarships to pursue higher degrees?

    If really the homework does not contribute significantly to the learning, then fine, but otherwise, what is wrong with homework?

    In my college classes, I load up students… trying to get as close to 135 hours a term as I can. They are already far behind Indian, Russian and Chinese University students, as it is, so I am not going to go any easier on them.

    I find, routinely, college students who can’t do basic High School algebra!!!

    Too much homework you say??? I see too little. These kids obviously never went through sane algebra classes where you have to *repeat* a thousand times certain tricks before they stick in your brain.

    Like it or not, for some skills, repetition is the only way out. You have to practice, practice and practice again.

    Now, that’s high school and college. I am not certain the same applies to 8 years olds.

  4. Daniel Lemire

    And balanced life you say? I have not seen my kids in 6 months! I have this hamac in my office and students really enjoy my 24/7 availability.

    Why would students enjoy life when mine is so miserable?

    (I am kidding.)

  5. Harold

    Hey, Daniel, do we want our kids to have the same miserable existence we have 😉

    I want my kids to be exposed to much more than school work. School is not just university prep, though it’s treated that way.

    As Seth Godin wrote today:

    “There is a fundamental shift in rules from manual-based work (where you follow instructions and an increase in productivity means doing the steps faster) to project-based work (where the instructions are unknown, and visualizing outcomes and then getting things done is what counts.)”

    Prescribed homework doesn’t cut it any more, and I’m angry that it takes so much time away from much more valid and creative activities.

  6. Daniel Lemire

    Yes, I am very worried that our standard of living will slip. Already, considering how much education my wife and I have, we are far behind what my parents had, and they never went to college. And my parents never worked as much as my wife and I do.

    Maybe we do not need longer hours, but then, we do need to work **hard**. And you must always be improving yourself.

  7. Harold

    It seems that we Canadians are highly educated, but that doesn’t make us more innovative or more wealthy. I wonder if it would be better for me to invest $40K so that my kids could start a company, instead of sending them to university.

  8. Casey

    I feel like when I was in primary school, our schoolwork/homework were easier, but now being a high schooler, our work is definitely getting harder ;(


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