Are you busy?
It is no secret that students are given busy work when a teacher is either absent or just down right lazy.
Frankly, busy work is completely useless. There are two types of busy work and neither of which is effective. There is the type of work that seemingly benefits a student and the type that does not serve any purpose for students. From personal experience, I have been in a class where we have done something so simple as defining vocabulary words in an AP class. In other instances, I have written entire essays in a class period only for the teacher to never read them, let alone review them. Busy work is an incentive for a substitute (or teacher for that matter) to be lazy and severely un-motivate a student.
I’ve noticed that whenever I am in a class where busy work is handed out, the students either a) don’t want to do it or b) will take the easy way out and just copy off a classmate. What is the use in that? One solution to this, if this work is given out by a substitute, may be for teachers to include instructions actually going over specifically what the students should be doing for that day. Some instructions are just too vague and may confuse a substitute. Busy work also correlates to teacher laziness. Now, I do give teachers credit for the effort put into not only teaching us valuable lessons but also into creating effective lesson plans.
Being a teacher is no easy task. But if a teacher spends their time making pointless lesson plans for when a substitute is present, there is no value, especially if the busy work is off topic or irrelevant to the course. And let’s just mention the fact that, let’s face it, some substitutes just ignore the students, therefore making the busy work ineffective. Thus, substitutes should be familiar with the topic/class they are subbing for, rather than ignoring students and being of no use to them. A worksheet to a teacher, which seems valuable, may be very pointless to a student.
What’s even worse is the fact that teachers sometimes don’t even go over the worksheet or leave it up to the student to decipher what it is they are supposed to accomplish in the first place. Also, some teachers may not plan too much in advance, which is another reason for pointless worksheets. No student wants to be in a class where the assignment being done has no real value or is just a bunch of reading that will not help them prepare for a test, etc. It’s all about how material is presented to us students. So, if the material was presented in a way to fit our needs, we would most likely benefit from something like busy work. Maybe if we felt each assignment given to us was worth our time, more students would be more motivated to come to school and actually want to learn.
We can’t change an entire school system, nor can we motivate every student walking through the doors of but it would be nice to see a change in the effort put in by teachers and even the idea that teachers make worksheets worth a students time. Teachers need to find a way to grab the students attention whether that be a fun rap, music video or just a different accent, something needs to be done to encourage students, rather than make them feel school is detention.