Late policy and teachers

Discussion in 'General Education' started by silverspoon65, Oct 29, 2008.

  1. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    The teachers in my department are very adamant about our late "policy" - to take 20% of late work, and 50% off if it is more than a week late. Their arguments - students will lose jobs if they miss deadlines in the real world. There is no excuse for their printer breaking, technical malfunctions, or other extenuating circumstances, especially for essays when we give the deadline a week or two in advance.

    Today their information for my monthly report was due. (I am the chair.) They have 3 things they have to send me every month - the dates of their peer group meetings, their district reading assessments, and the dates and times of 2 15-min classroom observations they completed. Nothing too difficult.

    Out of 13 teachers, 7 turned in at least one part late. One of them sent it to me in the morning and I never got it (technical difficulties). One of them didn't do hers because her husband had emergency surgery this month. Four of them never did turn in everything.

    So, what will happen to these teachers? Probably nothing. At the very most, they might get talked to by their supervisor. But what if they applied their own late policy to themselves? Should they lose their job? Should they lose 20% of their pay for the month? Should we say too bad when their computer didn't work or their husband was in the hospital?

    I just wish teachers would apply their own policies to themselves. We try to prepare kids for the "real world" but are these really "real world" policies?
     
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  3. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    i don't have any suggestions, but I agree with your point whole-heartedly!!!!
     
  4. TeacherC

    TeacherC Connoisseur

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    I agree that teachers should abide by their own policies- maybe they would re-think their late work policy if someone pointed this out to them! I know that sometimes there are extenuating circumstances...but four teachers that never turned in anything?
     
  5. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Thats why I give my kids 2-3 get out of jail free passes a semester. With them they can extend a due date up to two days or take a quiz/test up to 2 days later.
     
  6. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    We don't have late policies for students. Sure, we have due dates, but we don't have grade penalties for turning in the work later.

    We heard the "real-world" thing, too. We also heard that nobody would turn anything in on time and it would be chaos.

    Guess what? I get MORE students turning in MORE work, and there arent' any more students turning it in late than there was when we had penalties.
     
  7. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    And when you turn work late in the real world (like silverspoons story) you don't really face a major penalty. Some teachers take off 50% for late work, you would never have to pay 50% more in the real world if you payed a bill late. I am begining to reevaluate this in my own classes.
     
  8. Canadian Gal

    Canadian Gal Habitué

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    I give the kids until I start marking it. Which reminds me... I still have a year plan to finish (that was due in September!)... Ooops...
     
  9. ELA 11 12

    ELA 11 12 Companion

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    Oct 31, 2008

    My ultimate deadline is the closing of a marking period. I print frequent progress reports (or e-mail them) for students. They learn to come in during their free time to complete the task.

    There is no NY State Standard that says I must teach deadlines, enforce them, or otherwise.

    In 7 years of following this policy I only ever have 5 or 6 students of my roughly 120 that don't complete assignments on time. Many will be poor quality, and I allow them to make up the assignments, too, at no penalty.

    Skills and subject content is my focus. Once the students have the skills and understand the content, they almost never miss an assignment.

    The fact is, formal education is "not the real world" and can never be modeled after it.

    Oh, I do have one exception. I teach a career unit in English 12. Students fill out applications, write resumes, research a job and then write cover letters. I enforce deadlines on all those assignments because they do emulate "real world" expectations.
     
  10. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Oct 31, 2008

    This is all that we can base our summative grades on. Our Math grades must be purely a reflection of the students' mastery of the concepts taught, not on their work habits (these are reported on separately). While we do give due dates and push our students to meet them, we cannot penalize them by deducting marks for late work.
     
  11. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    Likewise, in most cases, if you told your supervisor, or sometimes even call your credit card company, and tell them you might be late, there is sometimes no penalty. So I try to teach students to tell ME when they can get the work done and talk about asking for extensions.
     
  12. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Exactly, I require my kids to let me know at least 24 hours before to use their get out of jail free pases.
     
  13. Luv2Learn

    Luv2Learn Companion

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    I think that students should have deadlines and have penalties when assignments are turned in late. However, I also agree totally that if the teachers can't follow suit, they should also be penalized. This thing of do as I say, not as I do, is a sure way to turn students away.
     
  14. ELA 11 12

    ELA 11 12 Companion

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    When should they have deadlines and why?
     
  15. catsos2

    catsos2 Companion

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    I would bring it up at the next meeting. Say that you want to change the student's policy because the real world accepts personal problems, technical difficulties, and laziness as an excuse for educators.
     
  16. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    It kills me when adults act like children!!!

    In our building, teachers are supposed to be out in the hallways at 7:50 to supervise before homeroom. Everyone has the occasional day when a kid needs extra help or the computer won't boot up for attendance, but the policy is in effect to help keep order with the 2500+ kids at their lockers getting ready for school.

    I can't TELL you how many times this year I've been the only teacher in sight. I makes me crazy.

    If a fight ever breaks out in the freshman hallway, I think I'm on my own. Yeah, that's right: the 5'4" 50 year old lightweight who just had a mastectomy. Because by the time anyone else would get their tails out of their homeroom, I would already be in the middle of the action.

    We want our kids to be responsible. Then I think we owe it to them to model responsibility. Otherwise we look like incredible hypocrites.

    They're young, not stupid.

    I HATE the "do as I say, not as I do" method of teaching.
     
  17. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    I didn't bring THIS up at the next meeting, but I did explain that it is NOT a policy like some think, because it has not been board approved and therefore we don't HAVE to follow it. And in the past, if a parent complained, they were referred to the department chair to back them up. I told them they were probably better off not doing that this semester.
     
  18. forchange

    forchange Rookie

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    I think deadlines are important for assignments. I have very clear rules about my deadlines and reasonable (I think) consequences when they aren't met. The thing that kids (and adults) need to understand is if you don't follow deadlines, you are most likely inconveniencing someone else. If I pay my rent late, that impacts my landlord's finances and they are well within their rights to penalize me. Furthermore, I feel uncomfortable with the idea that responsible kids are going to be penalized for their responsibility because they don't get the extra time to work on an assignment or they had to make the tough decision to do homework rather than play video games. If that homework is worth the same amount the next day, it would be unfair to the kid who -was- responsible.

    I do build in "get out of jail" passes because I drop the lowest grade in homework and reading logs and I'm more than willing to listen to explanations of why things might be late (especially if you've built a reputation of being responsible). Obviously, if you have a note from mom saying someone at home went to the emergency room the previous night, you get a free pass. However, I'm not willing to let go of the idea of deadlines, because I do think it's good practice for real life. I am almost always one or two days late on IEP paperwork and the like and I always mark myself down on my rubric at the end of the year (and I suspect that if I didn't, my principal would) and I also apologize to the people whose jobs I make harder by my being late.

    I don't think the problem here is that there are deadlines, but rather that the consequences seem unnecessarily harsh and also that the adults don't bother to hold themselves to the same standard.
     
  19. Luv2Learn

    Luv2Learn Companion

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    Well, in reference to your question, the deadlines should be set by the teachers...this is in reference to assignments given. And why not have a deadline? There are going to be times that it is going to come up in their lives, whether it is a bill due at a particular time or related to their job. I really don't understand your question.
     
  20. ELA 11 12

    ELA 11 12 Companion

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    :thumb: Thanks! I was hoping someone would ask that question.

    If this sounds accusatory, it is not my intent. It will take too long to temper my vocabulary to achieve a passive but concise response. :blush:

    When we impose and hold to student deadlines, we limit our ability to teach and give students opportunities to learn.

    Deadlines should not be accepted as standard practice they should have a purpose. How does a deadline to write a 3 page literary analysis on The Scarlet Letter help the students develop the skill to communicate using literary devices?

    Now as mentioned earlier, when I teach the career unit, deadlines for turning an application, resume, cover letter are directly related to the task. When one finds a potential job, one must make time to create an accurate document and submit it by the due date or one does not receive the job.

    If. as a student, it takes me a little longer to master mathematical concepts, but I am willing to put in the extra time and I only need to learn so many mathematical skills by the end of the year to move on to the next level. What does it matter if I complete my homework on time so long as I master the skills before the end of the year...or in my previous point, the end of the marking period.

    I think that deadlines are too often imposed because we teachers think we are serving the students a valuable life lesson. Ultimately students and teachers circumvent this lesson with either

    1. taking a zero and doing better later, or squeaking by with a minimum passing grade but never mastering the skill

    or

    2. doing extra credit or using a homework pass

    Both of these strategies move the student through the system but do not teach the value of quality work and learning. The fact is, when students can do the work, they complete it on time. When students can not easily do the work, they avoid it.

    The only exception is the one or two percent that just won't do work no matter what we in education do. In that case, we must accept humans have free will and sometimes it is rigid.

    Deadlines make our work load manageable. From year to year depending on the distribution of highly skilled students, my workload changes. Some years, there is little need to extend deadlines, other years I am swamped during all my preps before and after school. However each year I get better at adjusting to skill levels and the work load is getting more and more manageable so my personal life suffers very little these days. I still have 20 years to perfect my methods before I turn my classroom over to a newbie.


    Oh, yeah. I teach in a public school with a combined roster of + or - 120 students per year.

    My fingers are sore, now...:dizzy:
     
  21. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I think that, within reason, deadlines are important.

    Of course there are exceptions. A child who has had a death in his family gets the extra time he needs on an assignment; his classmate does not.

    But, exceptions aside, I think that it's important to teach kids that the world does not operate around their own time schedule. If my taxes are in after April 15th, I pay a penalty. If I'm late for my flight, it leaves without me. If my coupon expired yesterday, it's no longer valid. If I arrive at the parking meter 5 minutes after it expires, I may very well find a ticket on the windshield. If Santa isn't ready on Christmas Eve, there's going to be a LOT of crying in my house the next morning. Explaining that I got busy is NOT going to cut it. (The year that I was very pregnant and my dad was dying, I got my shopping done by Thanksgiving, just in case.)

    Even in the academic world: if his answers are not bubbled in on the scantron sheet when the SAT proctor says "STOP", he's not getting into the college of his choice.

    I think that deadlines have to be reasonable. There has to be enough time for a student to complete the assignement without devoting his every waking hour to it. We have to assume that our kids have a life outside our individual class.

    But I think it's unrealistic to let kids do work on their own timetables. I don't think that it's the way the world operates, and we do them no service to let them think otherwise.

    In an ideal world, we could each work at our own pace and get to things when we get to them. But the real world isn't like that. Class sizes in my school average 36-38. There's no realistic way that any adult in my building can operate without deadlines.

    You said "The fact is, when students can do the work, they complete it on time." I disagree. Ask around a week before a research paper is due, and see how many kids have started it. I'm guessing the vast majority will look at the ceiling or their shoes; most kids do NOT budget their time well and do the work gradually. Instead, most kids wait until the last minute and rush like crazy to get the assignment done. It has nothing to do with whether or not they can do the work; it's a question of maturity and budgeting their time.
     
  22. forchange

    forchange Rookie

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    I don't disagree with you, except that I do think they're are valuable lessons about responsibility, accountability, and decision making that need to get taught before a resume unit in high school.

    I think what you're talking about can be accomplished by allowing students to take re-takes or rewrite papers. There *are* deadlines, certainly you have to assign a grade at some point and at the end of the year, a student either passes or doesn't. These are deadlines. I think we can be kind and talk about development when students fail to meet expectations, but I'm not sure that getting rid of deadlines is the best way to go.
     
  23. SciTeacherNY

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    My chairperson made a good point - some people will be late with things their entire life and there is very little you can do to change them. They will be late to work, late with paying bills, etc. I accept late work, but penalize them for it. All and all I want kids to pass my class. If that means I get an assignment late that is what it means.
     
  24. ELA 11 12

    ELA 11 12 Companion

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    I think I understand what you mean, but rewrites and re-takes teach students to turn in low quality in order to get an extension in turn making a deadline a mute point.

    However, my strategy may work because other teachers are strict about deadlines, so the majority of students are conditioned to turn in assignments on time. So in that case, deadlines are good. Because I can rely on this conditioning, I can plan my lessons around how long it will take me to evaluate outcomes.
     
  25. forchange

    forchange Rookie

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    I don't agree that this has to be the case. I think this is within a teacher's control to create a culture where that is not the case. Especially I think this is true with writing because writing is an area where it's almost impossible to be "perfect" and the "real" writing process allows for almost infinite revision.

    I did have a professor that would have a "soft" deadline one week before a paper was due. If you made that deadline, he would correct your paper for free and give it back to you and then you could make changes before the actual deadline. It wasn't required, but I always took advantage of it... it just seemed to good to pass up. This seems like maybe a good compromise. I was always impressed that he would be willing to correct papers twice and felt like he must really care about my learning. He put me to sleep when he lectured (the fact that it was political theory probably didn't help), but he is a professor I will remember despite his boring lectures.
     

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