On granting extensions.

My husband thinks I am a hard ass.

I disagree. Somewhat.

My students have a writing assignment due the Monday after Thanksgiving break. Hey, I didn't make the syllabus, I just take it as law. This is a large assignment, worth a significant portion of their final grade. However, they have been working on drafts over the past few weeks, so all they have to do is take my feedback, incorporate it into their original version, and hand it in. And yes, for some, that is a lot of work- because they didn't do so much the first time around. I am not very sympathetic. However, I do recognize that it really sucks to have to worry about this over break.

I guess I am naive, though, because I was surprised this past Monday when I received an email from one of my students, asking for an extension, without any reason or excuse. It actually rather irritated me. I hate lame excuses as much as the next person, but sometimes there are genuinely valid ones, such as the one where the student fell off a horse and was in the hospital for three days; or the one where the students grandmother passed away suddenly. To not even offer a lame excuse, though, means that there isn't a good reason other then "I don't feel like doing the work this week so I want more time to go out with my hometown friends, play Wii, and procrastinate."

Coincidentally, I had just decided to give them all an extra three days. (That thing about the syllabus = law? Not so much, I guess)(At least not for me. Just for the students). I sent a mass email announcing the new due date, and informing them if I didn't get the assignment by noon on Thursday, they would receive a zero.

This student immediately responded with "Oh, thank you so much!"

You know what? I wanted to email them right back and say "Hey, it isn't because you asked for it. Frankly, your asking for an extension makes you look either lazy or uninterested, and any other time I would have said no."

It was this reaction that made my husband call me a hard ass, as I vented over dinner tonight.

Then again, he would have been that student. Only, salesman that he is, he would have come in with a good pitch and sold me on why he needed an extension.

Hey, I think I was nice to give them the extra time. And really, I wasn't going to have time to grade those papers between Monday and Thursday, so it's no big deal to me one way or the other. But they need to learn to be responsible, and part of that responsibility is learning to meet deadlines. Even when they fall after a holiday.


Lisa said...

Totally agree. Maybe I'm a hardass too but when my students have a writing project due I tell them they can't participate in our celebration unless they finish. And you know what? They all finish.