Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Lessons From Students

As you may know, I am a high school science teacher as well as a small business owner. Yesterday was a lecture day (ugh!) and I gave them homework to reinforce the lecture. However, they had a project due today, so the homework is actually due tomorrow. So, they get two days to do a VERY simple assignment. Today, they did an activity based on yesterday's lecture and it had to be finished before class ended. I heard many interesting statements (complaints) that caught my attention because they are not limited to freshmen.

  1. You always give us so much work and never any time to complete it! They had most of class Thursday, all day Friday, and the weekend for projects. They also had about 10 minutes after the activity today that could have been used to work on homework. When asked as to why they were not doing homework when they had time in class, the response was "I just don't feel like doing it now." Wow!!! How familiar is this? I could just hear myself! I never have enough time to get everything done! The truth is, I have the time, I just don't get started in a timely manner and I end up feeling rushed. To help with this problem I have gotten better about writing down the tasks that must and/or need to be done. I schedule when they will get done and then I can easily see what I should be doing. It is too easy to know we have to do something, but put it off because we don't see the big picture of EVERYTHING that must be done.
  2. I'm so tired and it is all because I had to stay up all night working on your project! Once again, they have had since last Thursday to turn in a short project on Tuesday. I asked "Well, why didn't you work on it in class or over the weekend. Starting earlier would have solved your problem." His response was, "I wanted to hang out with friends this weekend and yesterday so and so came over so we could play (insert video game)." Let's think about this. He had the time, he simply chose to do something else first. If he had not waited until the last minute and then tried to fit in more than is possible, he would not have been exhausted today. Again, scheduling and writing down tasks is KEY.
So, I learned that I can take lessons from my students! We have all done this at some point, but hopefully as we figure out what our goals are, we learn how to stay (a little) more focused and get the job done. How many times have you heard yourself saying the exact same thing? What did you do to overcome this?

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