Thursday, September 4, 2014

Holla Achya Teach!

This will be a short post because it isn't my usual philosophic rambling. Instead, I'm giving a little advice to my students, not just for my class, for any class, and not just for high school; this information will also help in college and the workplace. This advice is simple: Communicate with your teacher (professor, boss, etc.) about anything concerning your ability to meet their requirements as soon as the situation arises. So far this year, I have had several students absent from my class for various reasons. In some cases, it is a planned trip or appointment, so they ask for assignments the day before they are absent. That is fantastic. In some cases, even when they know they will be gone, students do not take care of this necessary information beforehand. Other times, a student is absent because they are sick. In most cases, these students will wait until they get back to school to go to each teacher at the beginning of class to ask for what they missed, but I have had a couple of students this year take the time to send an email to all of their teachers (just one email with all of us CC'd) explaining that they were not feeling well and would not be in class and asking for any assignments they would be missing. This blew me away. What an amazingly responsible thing for a teenager to do. Instead of having your parents call and ask for a homework request to be sent around to your teachers or simply doing nothing at all until you get back to school, be proactive and take the few minutes it takes to send an email to your teachers to personally explain why you will not be in school and to request make-up work.

Another scenario that has popped up is concerning electronic assignment submissions. Many of my assignments are submitted electronically outside of school hours. It never fails, on every assignment, I have students who fail to submit anything. I usually send out an email reminding them that they need to get the assignment done within a week to comply with my late work policy, and I invariably receive emails with a range of excuses of why the assignment wasn't done. What I rarely get, however, is an email from the student when the excuse happens to let me know they will not have my assignment done and why. How refreshing would that be to have a student send me an email before deadline to explain what difficulties they have encountered and that they will not be able to meet my deadline? I would never dream of just silently missing one of my bosses' deadlines and then waiting for them to approach me, and I'm guessing most responsible working adults would say the same. In the event that I know I am not going to meet a deadline, I contact my boss to let him know that I will not meet the deadline, why I will not be able to meet it, and when I expect to have the task completed.

The point of all of this, dear students, is to say that it would go a long way toward endearing yourself to your teachers if you began proactively communicating on your own behalf, and it would build in you an important habit for success in the adult world.