Due Dates, Deadlines, and Late Work

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This is a topic that if you ask 10 different art teachers, you would get 10 different answers.  Some teachers are very strict about due dates.  Some teacher follow what is set forth by their district or campus.  And some teachers don’t care at all about them, accepting work until the last possible moment before grades are due to the registrar.

I want to say I have struggled with due dates and deadlines over the years, but I think that is not the case.  I am a teacher that does have due dates.  Most of the time, my due dates are flexible.  If a class is working hard and clearly needs more time, I am willing to move that due date and give an extension.  I also give the students a week of time to come in on their own to finish work and turn it in for a small late penalty.  This is more than the district tells me I am obligated to do.

But what about due dates when it comes to kids that sit around and do nothing?  Is it wrong that I have no sympathy for those kids?  Is it wrong that I don’t want to give them more time?  I feel there is a difference between planning and doing absolutely nothing.  I have students that do sit and plan and do some research and appear to the untrained eye that they are doing nothing.  But, on the other end of the spectrum are the kids that sit and do nothing and expect me to give them extra time.

Am I doing a disservice to the the artistic process or is it a good learning experience?  I feel that in the real world there are “due dates”. There are deadlines.  There is no “late work” penalty…well, maybe there is a some kind of penalty for consistently turning in late work–perhaps they will get fired or get bad evaluations.  So, should I give them some practice to help prepare them for college and the “real”world?  Or should I continue to coddle them and leave them to find out on their own there are consequences for their actions, or lack there of.

I am constantly torn on this issue.  I am not sure there is a right or wrong answer to this issue.  Maybe next year when I move to a modified choice classroom and kids hopefully will be more invested in their work, I will have less of an issue with this.  Maybe with the snapshot grading system, I won’t really have as many issues because as they see when they do nothing and they have nothing to post on their blogs, that might help them.

I read this blog post on accepting late work.  It is interesting.  Do I believe in the concept?  I don’t know.  Will it work for me and my student population?  Maybe.  Will I change my policy?  Probably not right now, but maybe in the future.  Will my kids take advantage of it?  Who knows.

I looked for a good quote to end this.  Then I saw this.

So what do we do? Anything. Something. So long as we just don’t sit there. If we screw it up, start over. Try something else. If we wait until we’ve satisfied all the uncertainties, it may be too late.”  -Lee Iacocca

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