The Life of Bon: I'm being hunted by the paparazzi AKA my students.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

I'm being hunted by the paparazzi AKA my students.


Today was the last day of the quarter and it went about as typically as last days of the quarter go...

Student comes in first thing in the morning:  "Teacher!  You never put my points in for this assignment and now you failed me!" (notice the generous use of the word "you")

Me:  "It's because you never turned in that assignment."

Student:  "Yes I did!  I know for a fact I did!"

Me:  "Search your backpack, search your locker and search the no name folder.  If it's not in any of those three places then we'll talk."

Student, 10 minutes later:  "It was in my locker."

Me:  "That's what I thought."

Student:  "Can I still turn it in?"

Me:  "Unfortunately no.  The deadline for all work was last week."

Student:  "But I HAVE to have a C!"

Me:  "I'm sorry but you earned a D+.  You gotta be aware of those deadlines and get your stuff in on time."

Student:  "You don't understand- if you don't give me a C then I can't be on cheer anymore."

Me:  "You don't understand- you didn't earn a C."

Student:  "But if you let me hand in this assignment I know I would have a C."

Me:  "But it's over a week late."

Student:  "But you don't understand!  I have a very special situation because I was having car troubles which is why I was late and then my ride didn't show up on time and then my coffee spilled all over me on the way to school and then I was sick with mono and couldn't come to school and I thought I was pregnant and then when I did come to school I was excused for college day and then my boyfriend dumped me for another girl who isn't even cute and then the counselor messed up my whole schedule and then my dog vomitted all over the homework so I lit a candle to get the smell out and then the house burned down from the candle and burned all my books and assignments and also shoes so I had to walk to school in my bare feet in the snow uphill both ways and then I got ran over by a car and had my legs amputated and THEN I had to fight in the zombie apocalypse!"

and so forth

and so forth

and so forth

These are my snappy days- the times when I lose my cool and my patience entirely.  For about 72 hours every quarter I think I am a twisted masochist who needs serious help for choosing this profession and I promise myself I will resign immediately!  Well...as soon as the grades are in!  Then the quarter ends, the grades get posted and voila! I love my job again, why would I ever want to leave this profession?

But those students!  I tell you what, they have got the pestering thing down to a science.  For how easy it is for them to lose their homework, they sure are good at finding their teachers.  They are killers who will find me anywhere. They're like the damn paparazzi, hunting me down, prowling, never letting me rest.  After today I can say that I know exactly what it's like to be a celebrity. (A celebrity who pulls in $32K, wowzers!)  Those little man-eaters track me down in the faculty room at lunch, they come banging down my door during my prep period, they interrupt my classes like it's nothing, (WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO GRADE MY ESSAY I TURNED IN 26 MINUTES AGO?) they stake out my car with late assignments galore and generous, albeit futile, offerings of diet coke.

None of this would be a problem if I could just stick to my freaking guns a little better.  The problem is that most of the time I buy their bull. I have too much of a heart, and I hate that.  Part of me thinks "I must prepare them for the real world!  They can't turn in late work EVER!"  But then I realize people are late all the time in the "real world", they just have apt consequences.  People are late for interviews and they don't get hired.  People are late on bills and they get a fee.  People are late on their mortgages for too long and they lose their home.  It occurred to me that students should have a similar fee... one that is non negotiable and preferably monetary.  In other words, students should have to pay to hand in late assignments.  Forget docking points, it should be a straight flat fee of $3 to the teacher every day the assignment is late. (Can you imagine an assignment that was 2 months late?  That'd be an extra $180 I could make by grading that bad boy!) What you'd have on your hands is students who would get their assignments in on time and teachers who would stop whining about having to correct late work.  Win win and I'm a freaking baby genius over here.  Too bad schools aren't businesses, but I can't help think that our education system would be better if they were.  And THAT is a topic for another day.

This quarter I caved way more than I wanted to.  I tried to be all tough and hard, but I feel like I have to be nice the first quarter of the year, and also I kept thinking about this post I wrote a few weeks ago.  These past few days I have reminded myself over and over  "mercy, mercy, mercy. Mercy is stronger."  But then I showed mercy to one and he repaid me by sleeping through the entire next class period.  I showed mercy to another and it convinced her she doesn't have to show up all quarter if she is here the last week to get her stuff turned in.  In those moments, mercy doesn't seem strong.

This was supposed to be a post about a lot of different things but then it turned in to a post just about late work and how is that for a freaking lame post?

In other words, I am now the unproud owner of a gross amount of diet coke.

Also unproud is not a word, but it should be.


  

25 comments:

  1. "(Can you imagine an assignment that was 2 months late? That'd be an extra $180 I could make by grading that bad boy!) What you'd have on your hands is students who would get their assignments in on time and teachers who would stop whining about having to correct late work. Win win and I'm a freaking baby genius over here." That and the special situation paragraph...

    Without you Bon, I wouldn't have uncontrollable giggles every night. You make reading and logical thinking oh so fun!

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  2. The "and then, and then, and then..." was hilarious!

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  3. My charter school (Navigator Pointe Academy, right by the West Jordan Municipal Airport) has a school-wide, late work policy of day-by-day deduction of 10%. However, if you turn it in 4 days late (or later) than it is only 1 point in the gradebook. So, for a homework assignment of 5-10 points, not a big deal. But if you turn in an essay or a project worth 100 points...yikes.
    Our Fairy Tale

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  4. You can never have too much diet coke Bon! Haha
    holllieee.blogspot.com

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  5. they...what!? the staff room and your car? for real?

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  6. Hahaha. Oh students. But honestly, I'm the same way. Granted, I don't have to deal with grades. But with my youth I'm always letting them turn in registration forms for big events late, if they miss a confirmation test I let them take it at home, etc. Yeah, sometimes the students take advantage of it and there are times I get walked all over. But... grace is the rule.

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  7. You need to get a no soliciting sign for your desk :)

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  8. Love Love everything about this! I have been dealing with a good number of unmotivated high schoolers lately, and dang it if I don't want to run their lives like a business too. Hmmm...you are onto something baby genius!

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  9. You should just stick all of the late assignments in a bucket then at the end of the quarter draw out X amount (that you set beforehand) and those are the ones that get graded. That way they have a chance of getting their late work graded, but it's at a high risk. It also makes it so you're not the bad guy anymore.

    Or... do a reward system where if they are in class, participating etc.. then they get points or tickets or whatever and then at the end of the quarter they can "buy" a late assignment for 10 points. That way if they haven't been working hard in class they won't be able to turn it in.

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  10. Write a bill for the $3 late fee and get it passed they Utah state legislature and then I'll work in it from a CA point... Oh the money and lessons to be made!!! I cave too... More than I am proud to admit...

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  11. Ugh! HATED it when my students said, "You failed me!"

    I definitely caved too much too but I think it's fair to say that the world is also not black/white and if it teaches them a lesson for next time then maybe it is justifiable!

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  12. Let them learn the natural consequences! I used to work in a treatment center for young adults with mental health disorders, and since we were trying to prepare them to live in the real world, we were all about trying to impress upon them the consequences of their decisions. Unfortunately, that doesn't always work out, because sometimes people higher up than you will reverse your decision.

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  13. oh man! I've taught college courses and students are a bit more responsible that HS but they still try to pull some of the same stuff!

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  14. haha about the late fee thing. You are ON to something. I was cheering you on in that first conversation... yeah Bonnie! You're so tough! Way to stick to your guns! I know it's hard, but don't cave. I think they ultimately respect you more if you don't go back on your word. Stay consistent and then your reputation will precede you and they'll ease off.

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  15. Also, have you ever thought of the argument that it's not fair for the students who actually DID their work on time?

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  16. I once showed mercy to a kid by letting him make up the daily starters, the ONE assignment that was just not make-up-able. He gave me such a sob story about his mom's car taking too long to start every morning and he lived so far away (why go to Bingham and not Taylorsville if this were true????) I move him from a D to a C. He was so grateful. None of his other teachers were so nice. Do I think maybe he could do something extra to make it an A?

    I almost punched that kid.

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  17. HAHA I love this post. I went to a private high school (college prep) where we attended for 4.5 hours a day. We studied one subject for six weeks, wrote college style research papers and took mid terms and finals. There were only 55-60 students in the entire school (11 in my graduating class) and we got one on one lessons and what not. Do to the small amount of students and having one subject at a time, the teachers were always available, etc. I cannot fathom what you have to deal with and what your students must be like. You are a saint.

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  18. You would've been the kind of teacher I would've loved to have! You can really tell that you care about each and every one of them, even if they drive you crazy sometimes! :P It's so nice to see that. :)

    VoyageOfTheMeeMee

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  19. It shocks me how many grown adults I have in my college classes that will get upset with the professor for not accepting late work. Most of my professors will not accept late work, they tell you that up front. Seems reasonable to me. However, today I realized I forgot to submit my notes online that are due before class. When I asked my professor if missing that would make a huge difference in my grade, I felt like a little kid on Christmas when she offered me half credit if I turned it in by the end of the day. Then another women comes up, asked if she can turn hers in late too and then complained about having to turn it in by midnight and that it will only be worth half credit. I couldn't handle that part of teaching. You sound like a wonderful teacher with a great heart!

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  20. I'm afraid Ben was right up there with them in being obnoxious this week.

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  21. I hope that this weekend is less stressful. I honestly never turn in late work because I know its stressful for the teacher and the student. and now in college, I have more time to get my work done and I plan according. I could come and talk to your students about the value of turning in their work on time :) I love school and learning and I especially love these posts on school. you take a serious/annoying issue and you make it funny!

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  22. I am all for kids paying late fees! I think that would get their parents to be on top of them more too! Sounds win/win to me. Don't become jaded. You are a GREAT teacher!

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  23. I'm not sure why I never know about you until today (?!) but it's good that I have been enlightened and now I want to diet coke stalk you to be my friend...

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  24. My students always come up to me right before grades are due for the nine weeks and they are like "can I have my makeup work?" And I say "But you have been absent…" and they go, "I know, but I need to get my grade up…" And then I go into this big lecture how choosing not to do your work does not equal the opportunity for "makeup work."

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  25. What happened with the student? Did you let her turn it in?

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