‘No excuses’ for teachers, but plenty for kids

‘No Excuses’ Is Not Just for Teachers, writes Laura Klein, who teaches at a Bronx middle school, in the New York Times‘ SchoolBook. “By allowing ourselves no excuses, and doing whatever it takes to make students successful, we often find ourselves accepting excuses from them.”

Students don’t complete an assignment, and we give them a second chance. A parent comes to school, upset to hear that his or her child is failing math, and we say, time and again, “they can make up the work.” A test is failed and we provide a chance to retake it, or do test corrections for extra credit.

Teachers want to be understanding and supportive, Klein writes. But it’s easy to turn into an enabler.

“Being a jerk is not a disability,” one teacher said to me about a boy who was cursing, bullying and harassing students during class. He was a special education student, and often this status was used as an excuse for his behavior. But what type of future are we setting him up for if we allow him to act in a way that will not be accepted once the training wheels of middle school have been removed?

Children need to experience and overcome failure on the path to success, Klein writes. They need to learn what lines can’t be crossed.

Hube of The Colossus of Rhodey recommended this.

Speaking of lines that shouldn’t be crossed, check out this post on the mother-daughter pair protesting because the yearbook staff rejected the girl’s sexpot photo.

 

Should instructors offer extra credit?

Should college instructors offer extra credit? If so, is it OK to offer grade-raising points for community service, donating blood or attending a cultural event?

Also on Community College Spotlight:  Not just anyone can judge the quality of Kansas City barbecue. Would-be barbecue judges must pass a certification class before taking the oath.

‘Why do I have an F?’

“Why do I have an F?” ask community college students who aren’t coming to class and doing the assigned work. “They want extra credit, chances to make up tests, magic points that appear out of nowhere just because they asked,” writes a remedial English instructor.

Also on Community College Spotlight: Some community colleges don’t participate in federal loan programs, saying students can pay the low tuition on their own and avoid debt.  Should all students have the right to access loans?