Sunday, August 31, 2008

Late Work and Zeros

This post got me thinking about my late policy again. Most teachers in my building think my late policy is naive and won't work, while my boss thinks it's great. I guess I won't really know which it is until the end of the quarter, but for right now and after reading Dr. Pezz's post I am again feeling better about it.

My late policy is this: Students may turn in late work up to a week before the quarter ends (though no late work will get an A).

Teachers seem to think I will get an avalanche of work at the end of the quarter, and maybe I will, but as I told the parents at parent night the other day, I want the students to do the work. I don't want them to know they will get a zero two days later and give up on it. If it's an assignment, it means it's practicing an important skill and showing me their skill level. I want them to do the work on time, yes, but I don't want them giving up on it because they are forgetful, uninterested, busy, lazy, etc. I expect all work to be done. If it happens to not come in until October, well it certainly won't be an A, but they'll have done something and possibly even (perhaps I am naive) retain something.

I told my students I shouldn't see any zeros in October. I know this is probably not going to be the case, but I gave them the chance. And if they don't take it, they get the zero.

However, the zero is still a piece of contention, one I am not comfortable with giving or not giving (unless cheating is involved). It can hurt hugely, but hasn't the student made that decision for him/herself?

I always figured I'd be a hard-nosed, traditional teacher--because I was the type of student that did as I was told and always turned in my work and did well on tests and so on, but I find myself agreeing more and more with progressive thinking--thinking that (in my opinion) puts the student's needs first.

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