November 5, 2007

The Other Shoe Ready to Drop?

My team had been contemplating having a no-late-work policy for most of last year, so when the school came up with a no-late-homework policy, we had confirmation that we should take the plunge. (The subtle difference between the school policy and our team's policy is we aren't taking any late work--including classwork.)

The 7th grade team took the plunge, too, but I think they've backed down on their policy and have started accepting late work with a penalty, which is what we've done in the past. I think accepting late work with with a penalty is a nice compromise to not wanting to accept late work, but the ideal is that students turn in their work and that we teachers don't have to chase them down or beg them for it. Yea, especially students who are bussed from all over the county to attend a magnet program.

I don't know for sure, but I think they was a little pressure from administration for the 7th grade team to back down on their no late-work policy. And it's not like students don't have any chances to turn in late work because the whole 7th grade team was using Oops Passes, as is half of the 8th grade team, where students can turn in an assignment one day late with no penalty. I think most teachers give out about 3-4 passes a quarter. Whoa! That's a lot of chances to forget your work. You know students who miss assignments more than that in a quarter have serious attitude or work ethic issues.

I also felt a little of that pressure from admin at our last team meeting. The principal indicated that there are studies that go against what we're doing and that isn't it better to evaluate student understanding of the content than their abilities to meet deadlines? That is an excellent point that I can agree with; however, if students do not turn in work, I have nothing to evaluate. She could also see my point, and at the time, a few weeks ago, I boasted that I have far more students turning in work this year with our strict policy than I did last year with our graduated reduction of credit policy.

And then...the second quarter started. I have more students failing than passing because they didn't turn in all three assignments last week. Due to testing, last week was a light week in my classroom. This is so bad...

According to the other teachers on my team, the students flaked out in all their classes last week. We're all shifting into a higher gear this quarter and our students are running low on fuel and ambition. We're on the fast track to disaster.

No comments: