This quote pretty much sums up my feelings about late work, but like every teacher we feel pressured to “teach” our students a lesson in promptness. I completely understand the idea that high school students need to be prepared for the “real world” where tardiness can get you fired, however, this lesson should not be at the expense of learning the concepts. A majority of students, especially high school students know “the game.” This game is: show up, sit down, listen, turn in the homework, go home. They have tuned out on their education and school ends up being just another way to fill time until they are 18 and out of their parents’ houses, so they can make their own choices. They’ve learned how to copy each other’s papers, find answers on Google, type math problems into an app that will answer the questions for them, read the cliff notes (or watch the movie), do anything except invest in their own learning.
For a long time my policy was grade deduction based on number of days late but it became hard for me to keep tabs on late work. So I switched to no late work accepted and pretty soon the strugglers stopped trying at all. Why bother if you knew you weren’t going to get credit for it? Last year I started a no homework policy–if you didn’t finish,it got tabled to the next day. My class work felt like a revolving door. I still couldn’t stay ahead of all the work. This year, class work is done in class, period. If you don’t finish, you sign up for lunch tutoring or see me during advisory period and if you don’t see me then the work earns 50% or less. I have two weekly assignments: reading logs and an article of the week. Students still struggle with this. So many other classes have the NO LATE WORK policy that my work gets put off for the very end, if done at all. This means that students are not reading. It makes me very sad. However, I’m now able to plan class lessons more efficiently as I know I have to leave time for them to actually work. It helps me keep lessons simple to ensure they are learning. Students pay attention in class because they don’t want to waste valuable time.
I want students to feel accomplished when they leave my classroom. What they and how they learn is more important than when they learn it.