Second Chances in School

A couple weeks ago I was in a class with pre-admin teachers and the topic turned to whether we should make students hold the line or give them chances. I know there are thoughts about this on both sides especially when talking elementary vs. high school, but we are in education and our job is to teach. So we teach about how important it is to hold to deadlines. In class we discuss why we have deadlines. Then we hand out deadlines for assignments and work with those that are not meeting them. In education there should second chances. If the student is progressing in class and they forget an assignment, second chance. If they forget more than once, the teacher should be working with the student, not complaining that the student doesn't turn anything in. It is our job to help them no matter the age.
I can see that there are times we need to hold them to a line after working with them through the year, but we are here to teach the students, to work with them, to prepare them. I hear the comment that one day they will be held to a deadline at a job, or that college professors will not budge and you will get a bad grade. I understand those points. They might run into those situations. The college professors I had would work with me if I talked with them about an assignment being late. Most jobs work with employees to a point. Students will also be older and, hopefully, feel the job is important enough to take it seriously.
I hope I don't offend you when I say that the homework assignment they forgot to bring back was not that important. I might have been. What we need to think about is what are we doing to make the assignments important enough for students to not forget them. Threatening them with a bad grade does not make it important, it makes it an obligation. Turning the assignment into a project that they will want to get in because it is important to helping find an answer to a problem, or it will move their group to the next step in their project. That is important.
Sometimes we need to rethink what we assign and what we expect of our students. We should not expect less, we should expect more from them. We should also understand that they are human. Sometimes I have to think of them as my child and what I would do for my child in this situation. It is a fine line what we do as teachers sometimes. High schools should hold students to a high level of responsibility, a lot more than we do in elementary, but we should never forget that they are still learning.
The question should not be, do I give them a second chance? It should be, should I stop giving second chances? What do you think about second chances in school?


Flipping School is Starting

School is starting up again and I m ready to get started. We have quite a few changes coming this year. We have a new principal starting her first year. I am excited to show her how a flipped classroom looks and works. We also are starting a new math program with a technology piece that I am interested in seeing how it works. The publisher assured us the tech piece would be ready for our iPads at the beginning of school. We also are testing a new language program that has a technology piece. Same company, same promise about the iPads. My team has a little work to do to get the new Math and Language information in place and decide how we are going to implement thoughts I read by Ramsey Musallam on Explore-Flip-Apply.
As I put together a two-day class about the flipped classroom this summer, I came across some great videos and information that helped me understand more about what I want to do in my classroom. Here is the presentation I put together. I learned was that the flipped classroom is an change of mindset. Changing the way I think about the class, the curriculum, the homework, the management, and the way the students learn.
I came across a few articles about whether we need teachers or not. A computer can teach the basic curriculum points. As a teacher I need to help students be more curious about our world. I need to help students explore problems and language and how they work, not just do drill-and-kill work and have students memorize stuff.
Another thought I kept thinking about this summer was one by Mrs. Ripp, "Would I like being a student in my classroom?" I have been thinking about what activities I want to present to my students. Figuring out how I want to present the new curriculum in a way the inspires curiosity in always a challenge, but seeing students get excited about learning and about being in school is an exciting part of being a teacher.
This is going to be an exciting year.