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…