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?

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