Procrastination

Procrastination. I get it. We’ve all pushed things off to the last minute. Hey, life happens! But right now I have no time for procrastination. I guess this falls into the category of “your students are not you” (meaning that I am always thinking ahead), and while I acknowledge this point, I still have NO time for it!

I have my dual enrollment students making a persuasive commercial (actually, more like an opinion commercial — but I won’t get into the “technicalities” because many of these will fall into my final reflection that is coming in the next few weeks). They had two entire days in the lab to start (or at least almost finish) their project. If they needed more time, they were to finish it at home over spring break and upload it to our class wiki by today.

Now, knowing that “things” come up, technology sometimes “fails,” and well, life happens, I ensured all students knew my email address would be on the class wiki homepage FTI (for their info. — yes, now I’m making up my own acronyms, ha!). So, for example, if computers crashed, if files wouldn’t upload, if there were just general questions, students would be able to contact me (on my break, too, might I add) for help.

Today is Friday. And the excuses are pouring in. Some from even more tech savvy kids than me. And yet some students, who are completely anti-tech by the way, have their projects completed, uploaded, done. They are supposed to present when we get back to school next week, and I’m sticking to that deadline.  I’m sure I will face this procrastination ailment throughout my teaching career, but I don’t feel that I’m going to just give a “pass” to those students who just decided to wait until today to try to do their project, while others got theirs in on time. Yes, case-by-case, individual basis maybe things would be different. But this is why I make my directions very clear. My deadlines/expectations even clearer. Not to mention creating an opportunity for students to ask and get help.

I’m all about remaining flexible. And I know what it’s like to have a 30 page paper going and find it gone when I’ve come back in the room because my computer crashed. I’ve been there, done that. Yes, I’ve had to ask for extensions when life happened. BUT never made excuses for just being lazy and not doing the work. (Again, my distinction between struggling vs. reluctant students that I mentioned previously….more on that to come as well.)

Yes, my students are not and will not ever be me. But am I so wrong to hold students accountable? Am I so wrong to have high expectations? I don’t think so, and I don’t see this belief I have changing. Because if we don’t have high expectations, are we really challenging our students? And if we don’t hold students accountable, well, what’s the point of anything educators do?

My goal is to help “create” the next generation of critical thinkers/workers for society…not just feed my students worksheets to fill  class time. Real life happens with real deadlines and real commitments — thus, catering to procrastination now will do nothing for these students down the road…

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3 thoughts on “Procrastination

  1. Good for you for sticking to those deadlines!

    We are not doing students any favors by ALWAYS pushing back due dates. Real life doesn’t work like that! If your boss expects you to present your project/information on day X, they are not going to just shrug it off when you’re not ready. And if you can’t keep up, they’ll remember that come promotion or re-hiring time!!

    We have a policy at my school that I really struggle against. If a student fails a grading period, s/he has the opportunity to complete extra work to pull the grade up to a D (the grade has to be at least a 50…if it’s a 49 or below, it stands). No, you can’t pull up a C to a B and you can’t pull up a failed grade from an F to a C –a low D (70) is the best you can do. Still…I just have a problem with that. You get what you earned and you had PLENTY of chances (if you’re my student) to turn in late work or even extra credit. Ugh. I feel like we’re just fostering that procrastination. Yeah, we all do it to some extent, but it by no means should be something we’re content with!

    Good luck – stick to your guns!

  2. I would have a problem with that policy too. Again, what is the problem with holding students accountable?!?! Especially when they’ve been given multiple chances to “make up” (or a week long extension on a project, ha!).

    Like I said, I get being flexible, but there comes a point when we have to stop and remember what we are held accountable for as educators: to prepare these students for the real world.

    Thanks for the encouragement — I guess this is why I’m a “hard” teacher, but in the end I hope one day at least one student will look back and say, “Gee, I’m so glad she made me stick to that deadline!” 🙂

  3. I know how you feel about the procrastination front. I have been faced with many of the same difficulties with my students. I haven’t really figured out how I will deal with this once I have a job and my own established classroom. At this point, I have adopted the philosophy of my CT. Since my students have been used to her philosophy all year, I figured changing things up this late in the game would just be asking for trouble. She feels that as long as students are willing to go through the process of completing the work, she will accept it late without penalty. I can see her point of view and have not really had a problem with accepting student’s late work up to this point. But I also understand what you are saying. Once students leave the world of public education, they will be faced with deadlines and responsibilities that require them to complete specific tasks on time. Am I preparing them for that world if I let their work slide in late? Should I accept late work at all? Should I accept late work with a penalty? Or, should I continue with the philosophy of if my students go through the educational process of completing the work then they should receive full credit? I can see arguments for all options. It is something that I am really going to have to think about from now until I have my own classroom. Whatever I decide, I will be consistent with that policy throughout the year.

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