In addition to being a Vice Principal, I am also teaching AP English Literature this year. I am once again reminded of the many teenage tendencies that frustrate a teacher. After talking to other teachers, I am encouraged that I am not alone in these frustrations. Understanding that "no man is an island entire unto himself" is comforting, however it does not cause the frustrations to cease. So, I come here to question if there is anything we can do to change this behavior.
One such behavior is the innate ability to procrastinate. Now I know I still have some of that tendency in me as an adult... at least in certain areas of life. For instance, when it comes to making doctor's appointments I have earned a Master's Degree in Procrastination. However, teenagers procrastinate incessantly. For example, I assigned my students a novel to read four weeks ago. They were able to chose a novel from a list and will now be using that novel to develop a research question and write a complete research paper. Out of my five students, the majority didn't begin reading the book until last week. As a teacher, I want to say "next year, I'll give my students a week to read a novel" but that is certainly not the proper response. Another teacher in our building has her seniors finishing their research papers. Since they are due tomorrow, many English teachers from years past had students asking for editing help today and the library computers were filled to capacity during lunch with furious typing fingers.
So my question remains, how can teachers deal with the procrastination present in the student body? If we give less time to accomplish tasks, parents will complain and it will also punish the few diligent students who use the time wisely. Are teenagers, whose brains have not fully developed, able to properly manage time and foresee consequences of procrastinating? Considering the procrastination factor, how can teachers effectively teach using projects or long-term assignments?
There you have it... my musings for today. Comment on this post if you see the same thing in your school or if you have any helpful tips for the rest of us.