Many times I have heard that the best advice to new teachers is to be flexible. This is such excellent advice. So many times, there have been all kinds of unexpected events that have disrupted learning: fire alarms, field trips, assemblies that I didn’t find out about, all manner of useless announcements over the PA system that cut you off right when you’re getting to the punch line at the end of the lesson, etc. Then of course, there are the issues that students bring.
I’ll be administering finals over the next few days. Students invariably have all kinds of excuses and last minute issues and there is nothing else to do than to just roll with the punches. Some students told me they are going to skip school on Friday because of the World Cup. I told them it’s their decision if they want to fail their math class.
Other students have very legitimate issues. One student’s father passed away last week (and I know that this student would definitely not lie like this) and will miss school because of funeral preparations. Another student told me that her mother was sent to jail last week and she’ll be skipping school to take care of younger siblings. I’m not sure if the latter one will be back to take finals.
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On a similar story, a student I had in the Fall had a family emergency so I cleared him to redo stuff and catch up. However, I don’t think he ever really did and his coursework suffered. He’s back this quarter in another section, but looking over his grades he’s one of the top students.