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Grades, Due Dates, and Accountability

Updated: May 24, 2022

As I always state, I do not intend to create extremely long posts.... but sometimes the topic calls for it...


This is a topic everyone who has ever been to school can relate to. Everyone knows it is the end of the school year in most places; even year-round schools observe some time off during the internationally known 'summer months'.


We have all felt it or seen the rush of concerned students... and parents at the end of any term.

The sudden rush to turn in extremely late work, or seek chances to forgive, or re-do, or ignore.

Extreme cases included bribery and threats.

No blame game here... I have suffered from procrastination and still do (cough, cough, exercise). But, because I can relate, and I know that sometimes life just happens to us while we manage what we can, I am, what my colleagues and students have noted, more flexible than some.


More than not, this flexibility has come in handy, so I will continue in this flexible fashion. It is just how my personality works anyway...it's easier to be my laid-back self because I deal with high schoolers who are more independent.


However...

I still have boundaries and standards and am considered by very many to be strict or even mean. What you get with me depends on how you perform and what sort of attitude you bring to me... aka...how you present yourself.


With all of my high expectations, met with flexibility in how they are attained, I traveled outside the U.S. to teach internationally. I wanted to explore, improve my craft, hopefully, get a chance at leadership, and see what surprises I might encounter.


I was inspired by generations of predecessors supporting my interests and the slew of YouTubers, fellow teachers, who have done it and are currently doing it, and who say it is one of their best decisions.


I decided to go for it, and so here I am. Abroad.


I have learned so much about myself doing this and even more about the education system.

As you know, this post is about the education system.

Now... that being said... I have noticed a very troubling trend... It existed back home, but there was a system to control and discourage this trend. There was also more of a culture that observed accountability and consequences.


Recently, I have witnessed a phenomenon where extreme cases of disregard for timelines, due dates, or general academic honesty and expectations are prevalent. It's actually commonplace.


It seems that over 76% of students have entirely been ignoring expectations and their responsibilities. There appears to be no standard enforced for respect or responsibility.

Students practice the art of wear-and-tear on everyone involved, incessantly pleading but mostly arguing with instructors for a chance to turn in work that is 3 months late.


The parents support the students by following up with emails requesting work due in January to be accepted in May. So what's going on parentals? What's happening with school leaders who don't enforce the school's late work policy or the teachers who try to implement it, leaving them as a target for angry parents and students? And for schools that have a very relaxed late work policy, how does that affect teaching and learning?


I understand that school is about teaching life lessons, lessons in conduct, and lessons on specific subject matter, like social studies.

But with the disregard for the education process and accountability

What on earth kind of lesson is this? What is the lesson with this approach?

In my experience, it's pretty standard for schools to have a late work policy in their conduct handbook. And although teachers still use their own discretion... what happens when the leaders do not support the teachers in enforcing the basic manual that everyone can see?... Thus creating a culture of subordination and disregard for due dates and learning in general?

More of my questions are...

When is enough, enough in accepting late work? How does your school enforce late work policies? What are acceptable late work policies? What are parents' thoughts on holding their children accountable for missing due dates and missing work? What effect does accepting extremely late work have on teachers and students? What leaders go out of their way to ensure teachers are supported and not harassed or intimidated to take late work?


What does this mean for the entire meaning of a school?

For schools or classrooms where this is a rampant issue, it's probably safe to say, those who turn in work extremely late didn't learn one thing.

When this becomes the norm...when this becomes the widespread school practice... what on earth are schools there for? Is it just to be the dreaded term #glorifedbabysitters ?

Late work renders the lessons taught null and void in more cases than not.

So why are students so unmotivated? How does this impact accurate assessment? What do schools and parents do to support motivation and due dates? (outside of not assigning so much graded work in the first place)


So many questions...



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