My school is considering an "amnesty"day

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by tchr4evr, Jan 18, 2012.

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  1. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Jan 19, 2012

    Precisely. We were fired for not completing assigned tasks in the time required. Silverspoon questioned the fact that people would actually be fired for this offense "in the real world" and received two "real world" examples of it happening.

    There were mitigating circumstances in my case, such as the complete lack of any formal training for a difficult job with very rigid guidelines and deadlines. There is also the fact I was only given 4 months to master a job that I had been told repeatedly took a full year to completely learn. But the bottom line is still the fact that I DID have two cases go past the deadline and that WAS grounds for termination.

    While I can't address the specific incident at McDonald's directly, I did work in a McDonald's myself for 6 years. I don't remember anyone ever being fired at our store for leaving the fries in the vat too long, but McDonald's is another corporation that has very strict Quality Control guidelines and letting the fries (or any food item) cook too long IS a violation of those guidelines, so I can see it happening.

    I'm glad you mentioned salaried jobs. When I got the job as the Purchasing Manager at the second rural hospital, it was originally a salaried position.

    At 4:00pm on a Friday afternoon, the administrator came to my office and said "Oh, by the way, we need to have an inventory done by Monday." At first, I just laughed and said "Sure, no problem", but then I realized he was actually serious. :eek: I spent 40 of the next 60 hours counting, compiling and calculating all the physical inventory items in our stockrooms and handed him the completed list by 8:00am Monday morning. It was NOT a fun weekend by any means, but if I had NOT gotten it done, it is a safe bet I would have been fired. (The same administrator did fire me on a bogus allegation 5 years later and, looking back, I think the last-minute inventory was an earlier attempt designed to set me up to fail so he could, but it didn't work).

    So, again, even as a salaried employee, there ARE times when you CAN be fired for not completing an assigned task on time.

    Yes, the "real world" examples were people failing to complete tasks that were expected to be completed during business hours. (I also provided an example of being asked to complete a huge project outside normal business hours). ALL of these examples are the same thing we are asking students to do - complete assigned tasks on time!

    I give students at least 15 minutes of class time to work on the assignment for that day. IF they use that time, they should have to do no more than 15 more minutes (at the most) at home. Almost every teacher here DOES give homework (at least at the middle and high school level), but the students are given adequate time to complete that work. I'm not asking them to do a 20-page research paper in 3-5 days (complete with rough draft, formal outline, footnotes, etc). No. In my case, I'm asking them to do an average of 12 math problems a day, most of which CAN be finished (or nearly finished) in the time provided during class.

    If a student STILL doesn't do their work after these accommodations, then (s)he has earned some deductions on the work when (or IF) they finally do turn it in.

    While all jobs may NOT have strict deadlines that must be met, almost EVERY job DOES consider punctuality, work effort and ability to meet deadlines as part of their employee evaluations. So the sooner kids learn it IS important to do assigned tasks on time, the better off they are going to be down the road.
     
  2. CindyBlue

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    Jan 19, 2012

    "While all jobs may NOT have strict deadlines that must be met, almost EVERY job DOES consider punctuality, work effort and ability to meet deadlines as part of their employee evaluations. So the sooner kids learn it IS important to do assigned tasks on time, the better off they are going to be down the road."
    Your explanation was very complete! I agree completely!
     
  3. waterfall

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    Jan 19, 2012

    Ditto! Deadlines are a huge part of my work- if I don't meet IEP deadlines on time, not only is it unprofessional but it's also illegal. For regular ed teachers, meeting deadlines is also part of of our "professional practices rubric". We are a pay for performance school, so if you get marked down on that it does affect your pay. Our middle school special ed teacher is on formal probation right now, and a large part of the reason was that she was not collecting/reporting data in a timely manner. Not to mention of course that pretty much any student that goes to college will be required to meet deadlines in order to pass their classes. Even if you work in a place that lets it slide, when it comes to cutting people who do you think is going to get cut? The person that can't meet the deadline to save their life or the person that has it done right every time? Even if you somehow manage to get a job where deadlines aren't important, teaching kids how to meet them is part of teaching them how to be a responsible person in general, which you need for all aspects of life and any career. I also think it's pretty ridiculous that someone would say it's not important to make deadlines because SOME real world situations don't require them. So you just forget about the majority of the kids, who will get jobs that require them to be professionals? What job is going to give them an entire day once a week to simply work on tasks that should have been done before? We're not talking about letting a kid with a really solid "excuse" make up one assignment here- we're talking about taking an entire day of instructional time once a week to let kids do work that should have done before. In that situation, there is absolutely no motivation to do the work beforehand- why would a kid waste their free time actually doing homework if they know they're going to get school time to do it? That aside, the biggest issue I still have is that this will waste SO much instructional time. You've literally just cut out 20% of your instructional time each week.
     
  4. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Jan 19, 2012

    My problem is EVERYTHING in school is a zero-tolerance game when it comes to assigned work in some classes.

    I believe there needs to be balance. Quoting the 'real world' you will be fired for late work is ridiculous because it doesn't apply to every movement you make. There is some leeway in MOST jobs. There are also some MANDATORY items that must never be missed.

    But often kids have zero tolerence in classes. Nothing can be late. It is zero or nothing (not blaming anyone in particular on this board). No gradiation. Project due date, some will give no latitude even for emergencies.

    A few homework passes a quarter for when something just happens is a great compromise. Things do happen in life, but the penalty shouldn't always be zero credit.

    Some will say that missing a homework won't reduce a student's grade that much, but if grades are for mastery and homework isn't checked for accuracy, why should it reduce a grade at all?

    I just hate this all or nothing. That is why when I see one extreme I counter with the other and see if a middle ground is ever reached. Most times it isn't.

    Granted, what is going on in the OP's school is severe. But this problem is much bigger than missing homework. While the bandaid might allow some more kids to graduate, it isn't as if those days they are sitting in class will probably add much to their education. They have checked out, probably years ago. The problem started long, long ago and was allowed to fester.
     
  5. JustMe

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    Jan 19, 2012

    Well, I know growing up when my mother didn't pay the electric bill by the due date, it was cut. Sure, that first time they had a grace period. But after that, poof...no warning, just off. I remember once being in the middle of warming my baby brother's milk...that sucked. And it was an extra $50 for the company to come back out and reconnect it when they got the money together to pay the late bill.

    I really do agree with everyone here to a degree...but I also feel strongy, based on my experiences this year with our new "do your work anytime you decide to" policy, we aren't doing many favors by eliminating deadlines and due dates and other expectations. It's shocking how so many students don't even try now because they have this grand idea of "I'll just do it later". Lots of problems there as you can imagine. It can be hard motivating middle schoolers...now it's times ten.

    I want grades on summative assessments (what is in my gradebook) to accurately reflect how much my students understand any given standard. But I want another category.
     
  6. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    Jan 19, 2012

    :yeahthat:
     
  7. Cerek

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    Jan 19, 2012

    That might be true in some classes, but I don't recall anyone here suggesting or endorsing that. So far, I believe everyone has said they would agree to a few amnesty days per year (maybe 1-2 per grading period), but cannot agree with the idea of an Amnesty Day every, single week.

    I do not believe quoting or using "real world" examples is ridiculous at all because every kid we teach is going to end up in the real world someday and they will have to rely on the lessons they've learned in life up to that point to help them be successful. It doesn't matter if they go onto college first, get a job in a local factory or get married right out of high school....every kid WILL end up in the "real world" and will find out very quickly some deadlines (like the power bill) will NOT wait, no matter what excuse they give. So, the sooner they learn to take deadlines and time limits seriously, the better prepared they will be, no matter what job or path they choose after school.

    Again, that may be true in some extreme cases, but what the OP school is suggesting is the exact opposite. Instead of zero tolerance, they are recommending absolute tolerance for ALL classes, not just a few. Don't make the kids turn the work in the next day. If they don't finish it, they can do it this Friday. That's great, until Friday comes and they have 4 days of missed assignments in 5 different classes, so there is no way for them to complete all of them, even if they are given the full day. And don't expect them to just finish the rest of them next Friday, because they will have 20 more assignments from that week that need to be made up then.


    Nobody here has suggested an "all or nothing" policy. Instead, it has been suggested that late work should NOT be eligible for a grade of 100, but should incur some deductions since the work was not done on time. Even if it IS turned in 1-2 days late, the student can still get a passing grade, but if they decide to wait 1-2 weeks,then they haven't earned a passing grade on that assignment.

    You argue against the "all or nothing policy", but counter with the other extreme; that homework shouldn't affect their grade at all. If that's the case, then why bother even giving homework in the first place?

    Well, one reason homework should affect their grade is because homework is their chance to work the material for themselves to see how they well they understand it. Doing the work yourself is the best way to learn it and being held to a time limit means they can't just keep putting off that learning opportunity.

    Another reason is that parents may well question why Tests and Quizzes count 50% each of Johnny's grade, but the homework they do each night doesn't count at all. I had this exact situation occur when a fellow teacher (whose son was in my class) basically wanted to know exactly WHY his homework (which was mostly 100's) only accounted for 10% of his grade. I explained that, since I graded on effort rather than accuracy, I could not justify giving the HW any higher weight than that because her son could do every problem incorrectly and still get a mark of 100% for completing the work.

    She accepted the explanation, but still felt like homework should count for more of their grade. I didn't change the weight of the homework, but I did add other modifications that could help improve their overall score.

    If that's the case, there is even less justification for a weekly "amnesty day", because it will only punish the kids that haven't "checked out years ago" by taking away 20% of their instructional time.

    If a proposed solution isn't going to really address the problem, then there is no reason to implement the solution.
     
  8. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Jan 19, 2012

    I give homework passes. Students also know that I am a reasonable person, and if they come to talk to me and let me know why they don't have a paper, I will give an extension.
     
  9. Rabbitt

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    Jan 21, 2012

    BOOOO! It will only encourage them to wait until that day to do work.
     
  10. bandnerdtx

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    Jan 21, 2012

    Do kids need to be prepared for "real world" consequences? Absolutely. But the fact of the matter is that some of them (many, in a school setting like mine) are simply not ready emotionally or intellectually to *face* those consequences. So in the meantime, do we fail them and risk them dropping out of school or do we slowly teach them to face consequences?

    Our school does not have an official amnesty policy, but most of the teachers do unofficially have one day per nine weeks much like you've described. In addition, we take late work (with points deducted) all the way until the end of the term. We are working on changing habits that these kids have developed over many years. Let's first get them to PASS all of their classes, then we'll start working on meeting all of their deadlines.
     
  11. Cerek

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    Jan 21, 2012

    I think that's a fair solution and one most of the teachers here seem to be advocating. I was thinking about this issue on my way home from a movie this afternoon and realized that, although the real world examples given by MissCeliaB and myself ARE applicable, the focus of those examples was off a little bit in relation to the idea of a weekly "Amnesty Day". Our examples focused on incidents where people had been fired for not meeting a deadline (or completing a task at the required time in the McDonald's example). I agree that some companies may give a little more leniency on deadlines than others. However, the "Amnesty Day" isn't really focused on students not finishing work on time, but rather on the fact they don't even START the work until several days later. So, let's look at these real world examples again in that light.

    McDonald's - Instead of leaving the fries in the vat too long, the employee decides she doesn't want to drop the fries in the vat at all right now, so she will do it a little later when it gets busier and they really need them. One thing I can tell you about McDonald's is that their entire production system is based on making sure the food is ready and available BEFORE the customer needs it, not after. So, if the manager tells the employee to start cooking some fries and the employee says "I'll get to that a little later", I can promise you that employee is NOT going to last very long. If she does it 2-3 times in one day, she WILL be sent home and won't need to bother coming back.

    Another example is "changeover" (changing from breakfast to lunch menu). This usually occurs around 10:30am. Bringing the fries up front from the freezer, setting up the fry station and getting the fries cooking is a BIG part of the changeover. If it isn't started by the regular time (10:30am), then there is a good chance the store won't have ANY fries ready to serve when it is time to start serving lunch. And I can promise you customers are already ordering their Value Meals several minutes ahead of time almost every day. So, again, if the "fry person" decides (s)he isn't going to start the task when they are supposed to, the fries won't be ready on time, which means customers will be waiting. If the customers are waiting on food that should already be cooked, the manager will NOT be happy. If the manager is not happy, he or she will confront the employee and explain WHY they are not happy. When the manager is not happy and confronts an employee, that employee often ends up being fired.

    Hospital Purchasing - Same principles apply. I ordered all the medical supplies used by the departments in the hospital, from gloves to IV solutions. The shipping company that delivered our IV solutions only made 1 delivery per week. If I didn't place my order on time, we didn't receive ANY IV solutions until the following week. If I decided I would just wait till the end of the week to place the order instead of doing it on Monday (which was the deadline to get the delivery that week), you can bet the farm I would have been fired over that.

    So the issue isn't really about students not finishing work on time. Instead, it is the fact they don't even START the work until days (or weeks) after it was due. That type of lackadaisical work ethic should be considered unacceptable by any school, admin or teacher. If the student had a serious illness, family tragedy, extended hospital stay, surgery, etc...then accommodations should definitely be made for those. But if they just didn't feel like doing the work when it was assigned, then that should not receive any special accommodations.
     
  12. bandnerdtx

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    Jan 21, 2012

    I think that's a pretty big assumption, though. With my students, many, many of them *have* started the assignments and then didn't finish. They either a) didn't understand and didn't want to ask for help, b) thought they understood and when they got stuck choose to just quit or c) simply didn't have the time to finish.
     
  13. MissCeliaB

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    Jan 21, 2012

    That's not usually what I see. I see students just sit instead of doing work. Then they want to come the day before exams and ask what work they can make up. Really? I watched you sleep for 30 minutes instead of doing my assignment and now you want to do the assignment three weeks later and you don't even have the paper anymore?
     
  14. JustMe

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    Jan 21, 2012

    ^ Same.
     
  15. a2z

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    Fabulous post and very proactive instead of re-active.

    I said in an earlier post. This problem at the OP's school didn't happen overnight.
     
  16. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    The kids have time in class to do the work, and they just sit or sleep. What do you do while this is going on?

    If you allow this to happen instead of change how you teach then you teach them it is acceptable to do. If previous teachers did the same with them, then they now have a really bad habit.
     
  17. JustMe

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    Jan 21, 2012

    Well, I can't speak for her, but I stand over the student applauding the impressive sleeping efforts. :rolleyes:

    No, actually, I have great classroom management...yet students will still make poor decisions despite my managment and encouragement. There are natural consequences for those choices.

    I am willing to help those who help themselves...and those who don't being that I work with middle schoolers and they are still learning and building work habits. But there has to be some consideration as to how and when I help. I think we are making it too easy for the student who decides the day after they learn they are about to miss a ball game due to their grades they want to due that project after all. Let them miss the game instead of me having to stay after school on a moment's notice to go over the project with him. Place more of the burden on the student. It will hopefully be a valuable lesson.

    We are doing this weekly thing at my school, and I am telling you: it's worsening the problem.
     
  18. MissCeliaB

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    I remind them constantly to do work, that this is for a grade, that it's due at the end of the hour, do you need any help with this, etc. I cannot physically pick up a pencil and make them work. Also, I'm helping one of the other 33 students who is doing their work and has a question. I'm monitoring the behavior of 33 students. Many of my students are very good at looking as if they are working. I do not always make it around to every single student to make sure that they are actually working on the assignment for my class. Also, my class is taught at both the honors and general level at the same time in the same room, so sometimes I'm teaching an enrichment lesson for my honors students while my general students work on something independently. It's not like I'm sitting on my butt ignoring my class.
     
  19. Cerek

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    Yes, bandnerd, I admit it is an assumption, but it's one based on experience. In my experience, the kids that did not have assignments completed on time were the ones that never started the assignment on time. I've had kids during my ST and my regular classroom that simply refused to use the class time I gave them to do the day's assignment. This gave them an extra 1-1.5 hours of time to complete homework each day and two of my students would still conveniently "forget" to bring their math work to afterschool. So I would send them back up the hall to get the work from their locker.

    But I admit my experience is limited. If the OP's school decides to implement the weekly Amnesty Day, perhaps she can let us know the main reason(s) kids aren't getting their work turned in on time and how many missing assignments they actually complete each Amnesty Day.
     
  20. Cerek

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    Jan 21, 2012

    Oh....one more real world example for this topic.

    When I worked at McDonald's, I always got to work at least 30 minutes before my shift started and often clocked in early (if the manager told me to). Crewmembers could also put themselves "On Call" for days they weren't scheduled by writing their name and time available at the top of the schedule for that day. I didn't put my name "On Call" every day I was off, but I did put it on their a lot.

    During my very first employee evaluation, the owner basically gave me a "C" on "Dependability". :eek: I was furious because dependability has always been one of the most important qualities to me. :mad: I bluntly asked "HOW can you say I'm not dependable? I never miss a day of work and I'm always here at least a half hour before my shift starts. I'm one of the most "dependable" employees you have!" The owner said, "It's true you are always on time when you're scheduled to work, but you don't always come in on day's you're not scheduled and we call you to work."

    I pointed out that I DID come in every time I put my name On Call and was asked to work. She said "Yes, but sometimes we've needed a shift covered when you weren't On Call and you didn't come in."

    Needless to say, I did NOT agree with the evaluation at all. But you know what? It didn't matter if I agreed with it or not. That was the owner's decision and there was nothing I could do about it except realize I really wasn't being given a "choice" when they called and asked if I wanted to work on a day off.

    Did I get fired for the offense? No, but it did affect my pay because the low score on Dependability prevented me from getting a raise. Did I think it was fair? Not at all, because we had never been told that NOT coming in on a day off would cause our evaluations to be marked down. And I was only 18 when I learned this life lesson the hard way.

    So I think it is not only reasonable for teachers to explain their expectations to the students (and the consequences they will receive if those expectations are not met), it is also the responsible thing for teachers to do - especially in high school. I think it is much better that a student learn (by getting less than a "100" grade) that some tasks and lessons can NOT be "put off" until later or ignored completely. Unless the student is planning on college, a lower grade on a report card will have much less of a lasting impact on them than a lower grade on their job evaluation.
     
  21. KateL

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    Jan 22, 2012

    I see the same thing as bandnerd with my students. They all start assignments, but they don't all finish them. Some of them even turn in their half-finished assignments, and then are shocked to find out that they are failing the class. Yes, a 50% on most assignments will not let you pass the class, especially when you are capable of doing the work but chose not to complete it. (These students also score very low on tests, so it's not like my assignments are just busy work. On the rare occasions when they actually complete all of the assignments, they score better on the tests.)
     
  22. Special-t

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    Jan 22, 2012

    Even when I'm co-teaching a class (with 2 adults in the room), it's impossible for us to get all the stubborn non-workers to be productive. I've actually tried physically picking up the pencil and being a scribe! The students will work while I'm there as a crutch, and then the head goes back down as soon as I walk away. :dizzy:
    My theory is that some students need extremely small class sizes and a lot of 1-1 tutoring to be successful. Unfortunately, this is something we just can't provide.
     
  23. Croissant

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    Jan 22, 2012

    I totally disagree with letting students have multiple chances to do or redo assignments that they don't do the first time around. I don't mind letting someone redo an assignment that they obviously misunderstood after I reteach, but this business of allowing them class time to complete an assignment that was due 2 weeks ago is ridiculous.

    My problem is that I am expected to do exactly that. Every other teacher allows these opportunities. I have been pressured into doing the same because it's what the kids are used to in ALL of their other classes. I got tired of hearing, "Well Mrs. So-and-So let's me do this and that." What's worse is getting that from parents who are upset with me because Billy made a 5 on an assignment after he took all class to answer one question. Plus I'm almost ashamed to say, there is the factor of comparisons. If all of the other teachers allow students to make up assignments and I don't, my report card grades will be significantly lower than everyone else's.
     
  24. Cerek

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    Jan 22, 2012

    I certainly understand and agree with the frustration you're expressing, Croissant. That's kind of how I view it as well.

    In you case, since you are expected to give the kids extra time on each assignment, I would increase the difficulty of the assignment accordingly. Since they will be taking extra time to do the assignment, they should be able to work more complicated problems or provide answers that reflect deeper thinking. :D
     
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