“I totally understand the point of homework. But for me personally, I just like to have a little more leniency and letting them know like, it's okay to be human and go home and sleep.”

By Meghan Overdeep
October 15, 2020
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Courtney White’s unorthodox approach to teaching is getting her a lot of attention online.

The teacher at Alvarado High School in Alvarado, Texas, firmly believes in not assigning homework to her students.

“There's no proof that homework is going to make them better students in my class. I respect their time outside of class, they work hard for me all day, they don't need to go home and do more homework,” White explains in a viral TikTok video with more than four million views. “Most of my students are high schoolers. They have jobs, they have FFA, they have sports, they're in practice, they're in band, they have other responsibilities outside of school.”

Credit: Instagram/teachingwithmrswhite

“Some of them are going home and taking care of their younger siblings because their parents are at work. Some of them just need to go home and sleep. Some of them have to go home and worry about how they're going to eat because there's no food at their house,” she continues. “So, if I also give them hours of homework, when do they have time to be kids? When do they have time to relax? Because when you get off of work, you want to go home and relax.”

White, who is currently in her fourth year of teaching, told Good Morning America that she believes that connecting with students in the classroom is more important than piling on homework for them to do afterhours. Instead, White pushes classwork. Students know if they don't take class seriously and finish work in class, it will go home with them, but so far it hasn’t happened.

“I know homework can be essential for some classes, and you just can't get around not assigning it,” she told GMA. “So, I totally understand the point of homework. But for me personally, I just like to have a little more leniency and letting them know like, it's okay to be human and go home and sleep.”

As part of her holistic approach to teaching, White also has her students fill out a Google form every Monday.

“It's just a mental health check-in,” she explained. “Lets me know if there's anything I can do to make their lives easier.”

White says that if students are tired or in bad place emotionally, they're not going to be their best selves in class.

“If I could just take like a small portion of the stress away from them by not assigning extra assignments, then give them the little extra love that they need in class, then maybe I can reach them better and teach them more than them staying up all night to complete homework that I could easily help them with in class.”