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As teachers, we always have our plans made and ready to go. We have ourselves on a schedule that we need to stick to. After all, the end of the quarter is right around the corner.
However, the schedules that we create aren’t always realistic. Students have questions, the weather interferes, other things around the building get scheduled and students are missing class time. Whatever the situation may be, we must always remember to be flexible with our assignments.
In my World Literature class, I am always planning ahead and scheduling our units. But throughout this year (and years past), I have found myself adjusting to my students’ needs and allowing them the time required to complete assignments (provided they are using their time wisely 😉 and are making a good effort). The picture that I have included is my actual desk calendar where I write down absolutely everything that we have going on at school, as well as when I am giving assignments and due dates.
As you can see, for this week, I have changed a due date for a paper twice. When I originally scheduled the due date, I wasn’t taking into consideration that I would have students gone from my room the week prior for ACT registration. This also meant that those students would have to make up a test and use part of class time to get caught up. This resulted in the first change of the due date (the students were not aware of this at the time.)
Then, once we got started writing the papers, students had many more questions than I had anticipated. I think this stemmed from the fact that I was giving my classes an opportunity to create their own type of analysis over a novel that we recently completed. Instead of giving my students a topic to write about, I gave them choice. However, for this generation of students…choice does not always equal a good thing. Instead, this type of freedom with writing tends to freak them out. They get worried that they aren’t writing about the “correct” thing and then find themselves faced with writer’s block. It took many conversations with individuals for them to find their confidence and get them on the right track. This resulted in our final change of due date for the assignment.
I know that this is just one example, and there are times where it is not possible to be so flexible in our scheduling…but it is something that educators must keep in mind when working in the classroom.