Monday, February 12, 2007

What do you think?

This morning as I was shuffling around the kitchen, pouring cereal into bowls and ignoring the impatient cries of my youngest, I caught a bit of the morning show on my favourite radio station. The hosts were talking about a decision that could be made in The Big City that would take away the ability for teachers to penalize students for handing in late assignments.

Apparently it is causing great controversy and lines have been drawn and debate has started. My brain has been chewing on this ever since.

Why is this so controversial? I don't understand what is to be gained by letting students hand in assignments late without consequences. Don't boundaries need to be set? Isn't it important for students to learn to budget time and pace themselves? What is to be gained by having the knowledge that it doesn't matter if a paper is late? What are we protecting kids from?

Once you escape the protected cocoon of home and school you learn that being late has consequences. You lose pay. You lose promotions. If you are late filing your taxes you are penalized. When I was working at the hospital being late could at its worst, have very dire consequences. I know I am now comparing an essay to taking care of the sick and injured, but habits take time to learn and internalize. Isn't a good idea to learn that actions have consequences before the stakes get so high?

I don't really know why this issue is resonating with me so strongly. My kids are not school-aged and I am even strongly considering homeschooling them. Maybe it is my grey hair talking. Maybe it is because I was raised in a home that put great importance on punctuality and now I have a low tolerance for lateness. Maybe it is because my Dad is a teacher. Who knows?

What do you think?


the father said...

Can I have an extension for my comment?

Har har.

CTG said...

apparently we are not allowed to hold children accountable for their actions, unless it's an urban youth who is turning in a gun he found in the bathroom garbage can...then let's expel him for possession of a handgun.

I'm appalled at our school systems (not specifically the individual teachers, but the SCHOOOOOOOOL system)

Ami said...

I think that one should first consider how important the assignments given to students are. Will this assignment be important to the student later, or is it more random paperwork generated to satisfy the god of paperwork? (What is to be gained from the assignment?)

Being late in 'the real world' has natural consequences. Even a young student knows the difference between turning in late busywork and showing up late to a job or party. Kids figure it out.

Turning in busywork late doesn't mean the person won't be able to do other things on time.