Sunday, June 7, 2015
This is a series of blog posts I hope to write over the summer to reflect on my first year as a 6th grade middle school language arts teacher. Teaching is hard. Reflecting on teaching is even harder. Reflecting points out my mistakes and flaws, but encourages change; it highlights my successes, but motivates me to become better.
I am in a quandary, a dilemma, a state of confusion. Hopefully writing about it will help me to think through the situation and find some answers.
As a first year middle school language arts teacher, I felt adapting was fairly easy, with one exception - the lack of effort or the lack of responsibility of students completing assignments on time. It was common to have 20-25 students out of 100 to have missing assignments or late work. In other classes, that number was even higher. Regardless of the subject area, it was a common problem throughout the entire grade level.
I have read many articles and blog posts about teachers teaching responsibility and about assessing the learning or growth. Unfortunately, reading them has left me with more questions than answers.
I know some of my students will not go on to college, but will be searching for jobs right out high school. Being responsible is important in the workplace. If they cannot be responsible now, how will they be 8 to 10 years from now? Will they arrive for work on time? Will they complete a task given to them? These questions concern me and cause me to reflect on how I handled late or missing work.
So, here are the questions I am wrangling with and trying to answer so that I do not find myself in the same situation as last year.
Should students be penalized for late work? If so, what should the penalty or consequence be?
Is learning the only significant outcome of the assignment?
Is it fair to those students who turn in work on time to give full credit to students who consistently turn in work late? Is it fair to allow extra time?
If I do accept late work, should there be a time limit for turning in late work?
Am I enabling irresponsibility for not setting higher expectations?
Is it my job to teach responsibility when parents fail to do so?
I would love to have your insight on this situation. My colleagues and I are discussing possible solutions to our problem, but I am just unsure of the right answer.
How do you handle late or missing work?