Parents Doing Homework

Discussion in 'Elementary Education Archives' started by Miss Bliss, May 1, 2007.

  1. Miss Bliss

    Miss Bliss Companion

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    I teach a 4th grade math class. Most students receive A's on their homework, but then get to class and have NO idea how they did this work. (Meaning their parents are doing it).

    I have been giving mini quizzes each day so the children start to realize that they have to LEARN it...not just DO it. This is only "sort of" working. I reteach almost EVERY lesson. I have never had SOOO much trouble getting through to a class. I have good class management, I differentiate instruction, etc.

    I know it's wrong to point the finger, but have these parents created "lazy learners?" One Mom approached me today and said to excuse her son from the work because she lost it while cleaning his folder. Her son is too old for mommy to do that. Any advice on what to do?
     
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  3. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    I have the same problem! I hate sending work home. I figure what's the point makes more correcting for me and no learning for the student.
     
  4. 4monthcountdown

    4monthcountdown Comrade

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    First I verify with the child that it truly is the parent's handwriting. I can usually get the child to break down and tell the truth. Then I write a note to the parent on the homework itself, resend another homework sheet, stapled to it, and ask for them to allow the child to do the homework independently. I know it is bold but they definitely don't try it again.
     
  5. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    My parents just tell the answer to their child. Than the child writes the answer in. Than when we give a test the child fails.
     
  6. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    I have a child who, whenever she is absent, has mommy do her work for her. I think it is absolutely hilarious when mom gets the answers wrong. The kid has to do the work again during recess and when she is sitting there pouting, it really doesn't bother me that much. I guess I'm just mean!
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Yep, you meany. That's one of the things we like about you!
     
  8. 4monthcountdown

    4monthcountdown Comrade

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    So you're saying that you know the parents are doing the homework because the kids fail the tests. Wow, you would think the parents would care enough to actually help them instead of giving them the answers, especially when they see the grades they bring home.

    Could you write a letter to parents addressing the problem? Or maybe for next year you could start the year by sending something home regarding your position on homework.

    Miss Bliss- I think the pop quiz idea is a good one. Why isn't it working?
     
  9. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    One kid (though a chronic lier) likes to tell me his dad does it. One time I think his dad did do it, but the rest of the time I recognize the kid's handwriting. I just tell him that he is supposed to be the one doing it and it doesn't matter who did or didn't do it. If he did it himself and did it right the first time, then he wouldn't have to do it again.
     
  10. Missy

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    I teach fourth and I give credit for doing homework, but I don't give a grade on how many are right or wrong. I tell the parents this so that they don't help too much or worry when the kids miss questions on homework. I view homework as practice and it really helps me to see what they DON'T understand.

    As for the mom throwing away the work - I would hold the child responsible because it is their job to get the work to school.
     
  11. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    I used to volunteer in an elementary school that departmentalized starting in fourth grade. When I was helping with fourth-grade math, there was a little girl in one of the non-gifted classes - blonde, blue-eyed, pretty, slightly fragile-looking - who would admit without much prodding that her dad did her math homework for her. Toward the end of the year, the math teacher did tangrams... and this little girl was absolutely a wizard with them, to the point that the kids around here were noticing and applauding. Some time later I was in the classroom again, and this little girl very proudly announced that she had done last night's math homework all by herself.

    That felt reallllly good.
     
  12. nc4th

    nc4th Rookie

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    Wow, I have a hard time getting parents to help their children with homework. I work for a school that is 75% free and reduced lunch, many of the students come from single parent homes with their only parent working 2 or more jobs to support their family. It is difficult for me to get these fourth graders to turn it in because they are babysitting for their younger siblings. I guess that either way the child is cheated out of their education.
     
  13. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    That's for darned sure.
     
  14. GardenDove

    GardenDove Habitué

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    I'll tell you what happens. The schools give too much homework in the early grades these days. Now, when I attended K-2 grades in the early 60s, NO HOMEWORK was given until in A-2, which was the second half of grade 2. We changed teachers mid-stream in the Los Angeles Unified School District in the 1960s. Then, in A-2, we got homework maybe once a week at most. My mother (who was a school teacher herself by trade) NEVER had to monitor or help me with my homework, because the school NEVER GAVE TOO MUCH HOMEWORK!!!!

    Fast forward to the 1980's when my oldest sons, ages 29 and 27, entered school. I was SHOCKED AND APPALLED that they gave homework once a week in kindergarten!!!! Then #3 and 4 sons came along and we moved to Washington, and they really upped the stupid ante and made me SIGN A STUPID FOLDER EVERY F-ING DAY. I told my sons to fake my initials, HOW DARE THE STUPID SCHOOLS TELL ME WHAT TO DO.

    Fast forward to my dear daughters, born in '94 and '96. NOW THE SCHOOLS ARE GIVING KINDERGARTENERS HOMEWORK EVERY G-D**N DAY. No wonder parents get in the habit of doing their kids' homework, THEIR EXPECTATIONS HAVE BECOME TOTALLY UNREALISTIC RELATED TO THE DEVELOPMENTAL ABILITIES OF YOUNG CHILDREN.

    I bought a signature stamp so they could stamp their own G-d**m folders. Last year I just pulled them out of school.

    Thanks for listening to my rant. THAT'S WHY PARENTS HAVE DEVELOPED THE HABIT OF DOING THEIR KIDS' HOMEWORK!!! Excuse my yelling.
     
  15. terptoteacher

    terptoteacher Connoisseur

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    Wow. Many times
    children come home from school, park themselves in front of a tv and watch or play for a few hours. They probably eat there too. Then it's "family time" where the parents choose what to watch on tv. Then it is time for bed. I don't think that children--even as young as first grade, are too young to spend 20 minutes on some homework. If the kids can memorize 20-30 different Pokeman or Dragon Ball z characters, then why can't they do some homework? I think that parents who complain and say that 20 minutes of homework a night is too much are UNDERESTIMATING the abilities of children. I give one piece of homework a night. It is generally a review of what was taught in class. I have many parents help, but only one actually does the homework for the child. I think homework gives the parents a better idea of what their child's strengths and weaknesses are. It's obvious that the children who do their homework do better on the tests.

    I also have the parents sign a planner everyday. They don't HAVE to, but their child won't get a sticker. I don't force anyone to and no one should feel they have to. I don't understand why signing a folder or planner is that big of a deal though. I tell my students that it is their responsibility to bring the planner with a pen to their parents.
    I know it may be a biased opinion, but I tend to view the parents who don't sign in a not so positive light. What's so difficult about taking 2 seconds to sign a paper and possibly talk with the child about their day. If you stop thinking that the school is telling you what to do and view it as an opportunity to converse with your child, you not feel so hostile about it.

    Just my opinion as an educator who gives homework and as a parent who signs a planner and helps with homework.

    ps. I hope the encouraging of forging your initials doesn't bite you in the back side when the children get older.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2007
  16. GardenDove

    GardenDove Habitué

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    My sons who forged my signature are doing very well, thank you. One is making $40,000 yearly at age 22, without a college degree doing computer programing. Another is finishing his bachelors in History. Another went to tech school in refrigeration and heating and working in that field (at $25 an hour, plus working on his bachelors). Another started a tree trimming business. So yes, they are all doing well.

    My dear daughters both got straight 'A's this year in school, without my contant oversight, thank you. And I don't wipe them anymore either, they manage that on their own.
     
  17. Mamacita

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    There are many wonderful things about teaching at the college level, only one of which is the fact that I am prohibited by law from sharing ANY information whatsoever with my students' parents. What a relief.

    It's a sad commentary on our society that even at this level, there are still a few parents who just can't let go, and who still call their kid's professors and ask for favors and exceptions. And the only thing sadder than a humiliated student is a student who isn't humiliated by it.

    Too much homework is representative of a disorganized teacher and an anally retentive administration.

    However, a little homework. . . . but then, I've said that before.
     
  18. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    GardenDove- Ouch! I can tell you feel strongly about this issue. While I am one of those mean teachers that would assign homework to a child in K..... I don't think that's inappropriate at all. Do I think assignments should be designed appropriately? Of course. I think many kids are getting the wrong types of homework which turns parents off, but I think homework teaches responsiblilty.

    If parents feel they have to do their child's homework, then more parents should speak up... but what does doing an assignment actually do for the child? I've never understood the logic behind that.

    As for signing a planner, well, again, I'm a meanie. I think it's a great idea for parents and children. Parents are on top of their kids assignments and children are invited to talk about their day.

    I tend to be in the minority when it comes to homework.... but it's an interesting topic.
     
  19. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    I too think that homework is fine if it is appropriate. I also wanted to add as a child of a stay-at-home-mom, my mom took the time to read to me every day and to keep up with what was going on at school. However, many parents now, most of whom work, would never know or do anything educational without it being "assigned". For parents who do read to their kids and otherwise engage them in some way, they probably do not need homework in early elementary. However, that is just not the case anymore. I know lots of people who never read to their kids until they were assigned to by the kindergarten teacher. :eek:

    For the parents who are doing homework - send home a note that says, so many parents are interested in doing homework, we will be sending one sheet home for the parent and one home for the students for the rest of the year :p
     
  20. 4monthcountdown

    4monthcountdown Comrade

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    There are a few good reasons for sending homework, even in the lower grades. Like others have mentioned, a lot of parents today wouldn't have a clue what is going on in their child's class if it weren't for homework. Some of my first graders do their homework without their parents telling them to or seeing it at all. I say good for them, they are learning responsibility at a young age. I don't penalize them for not doing homework. It is something I expect but I don't make a big deal out of it because I know that some parents simply are not supportive of their child's education and first grader can't help that.
    There is nothing wrong with sending home a spelling practice sheet the day before the spelling test, or a simple math review sheet with 5 questions on it. If a parent can't get it together and is unhappy about spending 10 minutes with their child helping them review what learned in class, or heaven forbid, signing a folder, maybe they should take their child out of the school and find an alternative.
     
  21. teachingmomof4

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    I think that it is very important for children, even young children, to learn responsibility. In my classroom, I am this is one thing that I am trying to teach my students. Each day, they take their folder home and have a piece of homework to complete. Each morning, they bring the folder back and/or a piece of homework. We treat them coming to school to learn as their job...it is their work. I come to work everyday, prepared and ready to work. They need to come prepared as well. Homework is an extension of their learning and therefore, part of their "work."

    I don't see what the big deal is with sending homework home. It shouldn't take more than about 10 mintues per grade level. As terptoteacher stated, what is the difference between memorizing Pokemon cards or how to beat the latest and greatest video game. At least with homework, they are doing something useful.

    I have no empathy for those parents who do not work with the teacher and help or at least supervise homework with their child each night. I think it is a small price to pay each day in the lives of ourselves and our children.

    Gardendove, do you volunteer in your child's classroom? Do you know what is going on as far as academics are concerned in your child's classroom? Homework helps parents to also understand what it is that their children are learning. Thus, they can help to further explain when clarification is needed.

    Pardon me for saying so, but I don't have any parents who do their kids' homework. I think that most of us believe that it is the responsibility of the child to get it done. What will happen one day when they have a real job in the real world? There won't be anyone there to help them do it then so why not start the habit of doing it themsevles now??

    As terptoteacher also stated, the parents don't HAVE to sign or return anything...that's their choice. It's also the students' choice if they don't complete their homework. That just means no extra homework recess or Friday Fun Centers.

    I am sorry that you feel that way about homework and it sounds like school in general. True, things have changed from when we were kids. There is more homework and expectation however, times have also changed. More and more adults have careers which require a college education and both parents usually work outside of the home.

    Funny you should mention forging...my son tried to do that this morning. He had to come down to my classroom to get my signature on something. I noticed that he tried to write my name and "pass it off" as my signature. Didn't work. He missed his recess (my choice) and we had a long discussion this evening at dinner. In my book, that is the same as cheating. He knows that it's wrong (now) and if he ever does it again, he will be in so much trouble he won't know what to do with himself. Hopefully, as terptoteacher pointed out...this won't come back to haunt you in years to come.
     
  22. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    May 2, 2007

     
  23. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    We know the parent does the homework (it is only one parent), and so we try and not send a lot home with this student. Besides him not doing well on the tests, he also, can't tell you how he got the answers.
     
  24. pretty teacher

    pretty teacher New Member

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    i think you should encourage your students giving them tasks that they really enjoy. This is a way in which they are estimulated to do their work. not their parents.
     
  25. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    I think this is every teacher's desire, however, from time to time things will not always be enjoyable. I for one, thing doing some things you don't necessarily like is not such a bad thing. How many of us have to do things we would rather not be doing from time to time? We do it, because we are responsible and there are consequences. It all boils down to those two things.
     
  26. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Nix the homework. Give them practice time in class and monitor them yourself. It doesn't take 20 problems for you to know if they know the work - just 5 or so. Easier on you, and accomplishes your goal of them learning and doing the work themselves.
     
  27. 4monthcountdown

    4monthcountdown Comrade

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    But it doesn't accomplish the goal of having parents involved in their child's education, or the goal of teaching them responsibility so they are prepared for the upper grades (and life in general).
     
  28. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    Your right. It doesn't take 20 problems. The point.... again.... is RESPONSIBILITY.

    If a teacher is not giving students practice in class then they are not doing what they are being paid to do, but that doesn't mean students should be exempt responsibility.

    I guess I'm alone on this. OK.
     
  29. GardenDove

    GardenDove Habitué

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    It doesn't teach them responsiblity if too much is given to them at too young an age, and their parents have to keep on top of it. It actually sets them up to not take responsibility on their own.

    My biggest beef with the school system these days is: too much too soon, and not enough later on. I think that the younger years should be about learning the basics and also about social skills. Then, as they advance in years, they should be handed more responsiblity, as they are able to handle it ON THEIR OWN.

    The way it's set up now, the kids with the involved, active parents are the only ones who can succeed. The problems of the kids with super busy parents, or uncaring parents, are compounded. Some kids have parents who work afternoon shifts by neccessity. How are these kids going to get anywhere in a system THAT DEMANDS PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT.

    The current system is eltitist and geared entirely towards middle and upper middle class parents who have extra time and resources. Did you know that this issue is a big reason why people homeschool? They figure, the schools already demand so much of my time, I may as well do it myself, my way, without all the negative cultural baggage that comes with the public school system.
     
  30. MissFrizzle

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    GardenDove- It sounds like schools that require parental involvement are a burden! Shouldn't it all be about balancing priorities? Isn't that the real issue?

    Yes, life demands that parents work... sometimes multiple jobs, but does that mean school should take a back seat?


    It seems teachers can't win..... if parents are not ivolved they scream no body told me... If parents are involved it's too much. .....

    No one should have to do hours upon hours of homework with thier child. If they do, then the child is not learning the material, and that should be addressed with the teacher. That's not the issue I'm talking about.
     
  31. Commartsy

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    I no longer allow students to type their papers at home for this exact reason! I don't know what's more frustrating, the fact that they're doing the work for their kids, or that they think I'm too stupid to figure out that they did it!:mad:
     
  32. 4monthcountdown

    4monthcountdown Comrade

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    Garden Dove, what about homework that is intended to be a quick review of what is taught in class and only takes about 10 minutes? It seems like that's what several people on this thread give. It may require a minimal amount of parental involvement, but really, is that asking too much? A parent who truly cares would probably voluntarily spend that amount of time or a little more just keeping up with what is going on with their child academically (looking over papers brought home, helping a child study for a test, etc.). I'm not saying you don't care. I just don't see what the big deal is about 10 minutes per day, not including Fridays and week-ends.
     
  33. Commartsy

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    I'm not sure why you're angry. Is it because you had to sign a folder? How much work were they asking for the kids to do? My kindergartener does "book in a bag" homework every night, where he practices reading to me, and then I sign a paper saying that I listened to him read. This takes about 15 minutes, and it has done wonders for his reading skills and his self-esteem.

    I teach in middle school, and I try not to give much homework at all. In fact, most kids only have homework if they haven't used their time wisely in class. My dad (60 year old farm boy) asked me one time why anybody gave homework, and said that in his day nobody had time for it, so teachers didn't give it.
     
  34. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    My students try to use this excuse from time to time. Maybe it's the truch. I really couldn't say. I don't let them get by with it though. by 5th grade the students need to be held accountable. One father came in ranting because I was following school policy by not giving credit for missing homework afte X amount of time; apparently he threw his child's work in the garbage while cleaning. Then he got mad becuase I empathized and informed him that his son would still be held to the school's late work policy. I really don't know what to do about it other than stick to my guns.
     
  35. Miss Bliss

    Miss Bliss Companion

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    Wow, I did not anticipate such a huge response! Thank you for all of your advice. I absolutely agree with the underlying theme here: responsibility. These students of mine are in 4TH GRADE and need to take responsibility for their learning and consequences.

    I love that parents help, but I think maybe during open house/conferences next year I can prompt a discussion on "HOW TO HELP" and/or "WHAT IS TOO MUCH HELP." Some parents may need a teacher's advice on how to tutor. Thanks again, everyone.
     
  36. mommaruthie

    mommaruthie Aficionado

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    i am so annoyed

    I have a student who cant write for **** in my class and turns in her monthly book reports, typed with correct punctuation using sentences that require colons or semicolons and hypens. The level of the report she turns in is COLLEGIATE or high school honors, and i only teach fourth grade!!!I flat out told her today, that it couldnt possibly be her work!
    What is the child learning by this? Do i call the parent in to conference regarding this? She has done others for her child before during this school year... This is the last one of the school year, do I confront parent? What would that do for child???? Parent has also completed the child's workbook pages- clearly NOT her hand writing. OR, her homework is done FOR her also by parent or older cousin. URGH! So dont want to say anything at all- its not like the child is capable independently! She really works at snail pace on EVERYTHING!
     
  37. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    I'm just thinking that if parents are set on doing their kids' homework, there really is nothing we can do about it. Our best bet is to adjust our way of doing things so the kids can learn the material with out the parents interferring.

    Some things we can't control. So we have to figure out a way to reach our goals for the kids within the parameters of things we can control. I just can't see any way to prove a parent did the child's work without a huge accusatory fight. Is it worth it? I find it is better to figure out a way to remove the frustration and aim for my goals for the kids in a different way. Maybe you won't get as much accomplished in class if they are doing their practice work or research in class, but I still think it is better than 1) the constant frustration of knowing a parent did the work and 2) letting the kids get trained to have parents doing their work.

    My nephew's mom bragged for years about his straight A's in school. When his mom passed away, suddenly everyone realized he hadn't learned squat all through 11th grade! Thank God he pulled it together, graduated, and went on to college. I loved his mom, but she did him such a disservice! He had to face the real world flat on his face, and no mom around to cheer him on.
     
  38. Mamacita

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    Staple the parent's work to the child's work and send them both home for a signature.

    People work at different paces, of course, but in the real world, a person HAS to be punctual and reliable and able to meet a deadline. If that takes some people longer, that's the way it is. Some kids get the homework finished on the bus ride home. Some kids still can't get it done after four hours. That's life.

    On honor day, as in real life, the kudos should go only to those students who accomplished things over and above the call of duty, all in their own handwriting/typed only by them, on time, and well done.

    Otherwise, the honors become jokes. Only the parents are fooled; the kids KNOW who deserved them.
     
  39. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Oh, the other thing is, yes, we do want parents involved in their child's education. But the truth is, many, if not most, parents are so busy themselves nowadays that they just AREN'T involved. They maybe glance at a graded paper - I've had kids come to school for days and days with the same graded papers in their folders, no one had even looked at them! I've sent homework that has never returned! The kids will end up paying in the end either way - if the parents do their homework, or if the parents don't even ask about homework.
     
  40. GardenDove

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    Maybe having his mom die stressed him out a bit? That's always a possiblity....
     
  41. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    May 2, 2007

    I send home failing papers with a stamp asking the student to correct the paper for a higher grade and the parent to sign when the corrections are complete. One parent, not the one who does her child's absent work in my earlier post, signs the work when it obviously has not been corrected. One paper had an eight as a grade. I had the little girl correct it during PE, but it seems like her mom would want her to get a higher grade than an 8 or at least would notice that she hadn't fixed a single question!

    I think I'm just as busy as the next person, but every time my second grader comes home with graded papers and homework, I look at every single page.
     

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