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I try to address this issue at the beginning of school and as we work
throughout the year I continue to draw attention to the different speeds
going on in the room. There are no judgements made--two different kids
might be both doing super work on a painting, but one just used more time
to mix a color or think about his concept. This helps the kids learn to
appreciate different styles and hopefully, develop tolerance of other ways
of working than their own.
I tell the students that as the teacher, I have to make the class move
along at a steady rate. Often I don't announce a due date until I see how
the class as a whole is progressing with the assignment (this is easier to
do with daily classes of course!). When I see the majority of students at
a midway point, I'll announce the due date. As the students are working, I
will go around the room and make suggestions to the slower ones how to
procede. I try to let them know where they should be with the assignment
at all times--what they should be trying to accomplish in each period.
Breaking down big projects into smaller parts which will be graded along
the way can relieve some of the heavy burden of due dates.
I eat in my room and allow kids to come in at lunch or to make appointments
with me for after school, however lunch time is not teaching time (I need a
break) so kids must be able to work independently. Sometimes I will
check out materials to be taken home so work can be completed at home
(supplies not returned promtply puts a student in the "Dog House" which
prohibits further use of take home supplies). If a student has taken on an
ambitious project, I will always allow extra time.
Bottom line here is the procrastinating, unmotivated student. If you check
with other teachers, you'll probably find this student is exhibiting the
same behavior in other classes. I feel like I give kids lots of clues
along the way and "coaching" to keep up with the class. Kids past 5th
grade need to begin accepting responsibility for their role in the
education process and that means respecting deadlines. I feel strongly
about this and try to be as consistent as I can. Problem students need to
be conferenced with the teacher, parents, and school counselors to address
school skills. Use the professional resource people in your school.