Saturday, September 30, 2006

Feeling Bad, but not THAT Bad

In Texas, football is BIG. Football, football, football. Last Thursday night, our school team had a game against a town rival. Apparently, the team members don't get home until after midnight or so. So when they came into my math class on Thursday and looked at the homework board, some of them cried, "homework?! on a game night?!". Part of me feels bad for them, but the other part of me says, no, learn to balance your priorities. There's no way I'm going to not give them an extra opportunity to practice their skills because of football.

On Friday, I had a lot of sleepy kids. Some had stayed up doing homework. Some players did not turn in their homework. So am I doing them a service or a disservice if I allow them to turn it in late without penalty? I didn't mention it to them, but if/when I get their late homework on Monday, I'll have to think on this.

8 comments:

  1. When I was in college (Triple A level) our football team advanced to the national finals, the Alonzo Stagg Bowl.

    Some professors were cool about a once in a schooltime opportunity, others were hardnosed about academic responsibility.

    Will this happen more than once a year?

    In following years, could you give a double assignment on Wednesday and give those students an opportunity to work ahead to enjoy game night?

    How is it handled in basketball season, when games are any night?

    You'll come up with an answer.

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  2. Some of my very best students over the years have been those who are involved in athletics. I don't know how they did it, but they did--and many were not the type who even wanted me to lower the bar.

    I'm not saying that I never cut any slack or planned light on days when I knew it might be a long day for them, but in general it was life as usual because athletes were not the majority of the students in my class.

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  3. Ach. That's the trouble, I can see the reasoning of both your arguments. I can't assign double homework at an earlier day, because they won't know how to do the math without instruction. I don't want to lower the bar, so to speak. I could see just quietly giving them full credit if they turn it in a day late, but then that doesn't seem fair to the athletes who actually busted their buns to finish assignment on time. ... Still pondering.

    Ms. Cookie

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  4. One potential solution that could work for you and for the kids....

    Each year I let my kids know that they should expect homework _everyday_--no matter what. Even on weekends. BUT I tell them that I know that stuff comes up in their lives because it comes up in mine too and sometimes you just can't get to homework. So at the end of every quarter I drop their lowest two homework scores. So, it's like 2 "freebie" homeworks. The kids who are really on top of themselves drop homework scores that are like 4/5 and others drop two 0/5 assignments, but I think everyone feels like it's fair and it helps out athletes, kids whose little brother has to go to the ER till 3 am, etc. Two assignments out of 30+ doesn't seem crazy to me....so, that might be a solution that won't feel that unfair to anyone.

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  5. That does seem like a fair solution. This way I don't feel like I'm giving any special favors to just one group. Thanks for sharing.

    Ms. Cookie

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  7. i have also wondered about the balance in students' lives between homework and extracurricular activities. When I was in high school I was involved in many activities and athletics. Sometimes assignments just didn't get turned in on time. I really like kh's idea about the freebies. I am a preservice teacher right now, so I am beginning to think about these types of issues in a new way. Freebies would be a great solution and I have seen them work well in classrooms that I have observed. However, I have also noticed that sometimes students lose track of how many they have missed (even though 2 seems like a trackable number). Perhaps you could print out 2 "Freebie Coupons" at the beginning of the year/semester. That way the students are responsible for keeping track of the missed assignement (lightening your load and the number of times you might be asked how many they have missed or turned in late). Then, when they turn them in you will have a physical document of their used "freebie." Perhaps you could also make it an option for students who do not use their freebies could gain a few points back at the end of the semester. This is just some brainstorming but your blog has really helped me think about the potential "smaller problems" of my future classroom.

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  8. Thanks for your coupon idea. That does seem to make it manageable. And then the kids can know if they used them up or not.

    Ms. Cookie

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