I never liked home work. I still don’t really understand it. School is the place where we learn and work on academic stuff. Why am I doing the same in the comfort of my home, please? Am I supposed to just be in school forever?
Is school a state of mind that never leaves you even when you exit the school gates? No, thank you. If I could make one global rule for the day, I would probably ban home work.
Stop making kids take their work home with them. When school’s over, let it actually be over. Who’s with me?
As if simply having to do home work isn’t enough, one teacher took her assessment to another level in a move that has enraged parents. In the weirdest take on home work you’re likely to hear about anytime soon, high school students in the UK were made to write suicide notes as part of their lessons. You read that right – suicide notes.
If you’re wondering why this bizarre instruction was given, the notes were part of an exercise given to English students studying the Shakespeare tragedy Macbeth.
Thought to have been first performed in 1606, Macbeth is Shakespeare’s shortest tragedy and tells the story of the eponymous character whose quest for power, aided by his wife, drives him to destruction.
It’s the one where the witches prophesy that Macbeth will be King of Scotland and his life goes into a tailspin as he tries to ensure this prophecy comes to pass, by any means necessary – even murder.
Along the way, the guilt and paranoia overwhelms the power hungry couple and Lady Macbeth takes her own life.This suicide was the inspiration for the exercise which saw students of Thomas Tallis School, London, writing suicide notes addressed to their loved ones.
Prior to this exercise and the media response that followed, Thomas Tallis School was most recently in the news for moving to a brand new state-of-the-art building in 2011. This building was funded by Building Schools for the Future (BSF) – a programme introduced by the British government to invest in secondary school buildings in England during the 2000s.
The suicide note debacle has left many parents furious, including one who explained that her daughter became “very distressed” while working on the assignment, and informed her teacher that it made her feel uncomfortable.
“My daughter had had personal experience with people her age committing suicide. On what universe was it ever, under any situation, a good idea to ask a group of teenagers to write suicide notes?
My daughter is very outspoken but there are other kids not as vocal who might be suffering from depression. I support them [Thomas Tallis school] addressing suicide but it should be in a supportive environment.”
Other parents described the task as “absolutely disgusting” and “insensitive”, explaining that the exercise was inappropriate, not just because of the students’ age but because some of them had personal experiences of close friends who had taken their own lives.“I can’t imagine why a place of education would do something so insensitive, especially as childhood and teenage depression and anxiety is at an all time high at the moment.
My daughter’s friend committed suicide in the last year of sixth form a year or so ago. My daughter has never got over it and is still receiving counselling.”The school’s headmistress headmistress Caroyln Roberts has commented on the issue. She noted that the parents involved had received apologies, acknowledged that the task was “upsetting” and added that the situation had been resolved.“A parent contacted us with concerns about a written exercise given to a class during studies of a play by Shakespeare.
We appreciate that the exercise was upsetting to the family and have discussed the subject matter and approach with teaching staff.“I met with the parent last week and apologised wholeheartedly on behalf of the school.
The parent accepted the apology in a meeting that was friendly and cordial.”Suicide and mental health are incredibly sensitive issues which should rightfully discussed.
However, it is important that they are brought up in the right environment and treated with the seriousness they deserve, certainly not as a way of testing students’ performance or attentiveness in class. It is important to not only discuss these issues, but to do so with the right qualified professionals, in the right environment and with adequate support.