As a teacher and coach, being flexible is simply a bi-product of what I do. Schedule changes? Sure! Testing time? Bring it on. Your family is going on vacation? Take some pictures, do a little math, and have a great time!
I’m astounded at how some educators fail to see that life is NOT strictly centered around their schedule and time table:
* If this isn’t done in my hand at this time, then zero points.
* If you aren’t at every single practice, then you don’t need to bother trying out.
** If you can’t read by this grade level, then we’ll leave you behind.
Absolutes are something that never work, period. If you use those words “always” or “never” I swear you see some of those students’ eyes light up, because their sole purpose in life is to find the exception to the rule.
So why do we do this? Why do we say to parents “every single practice” when life gets in the way? Why do we insist on zeros for papers that are 10 minutes late? Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not arguing for no deadlines, far from it. However, I know that life has a way of throwing curveballs, and more often then not, our students don’t know how to handle them yet. Don’t they deserve that chance to make things right or at least that chance to prove what they can or cannot do before we pass judgement?
I was that teacher at one point, one of absolutes. That zero was to make sure you did better the next time. It was that way until figuring grades one day, and I put the zero in, and found out how powerful that ONE grade is. That day was any eye opener for me, one that changed how I did things. Sure, I’ll deduct points, but I want to see what you know, and if you don’t turn it in because you say “why bother”, what good does this do me?
I often joke about how teachers could be drawn looking like pretzels. We twist and turn and change and bend trying to make schedules work, help students the best we can, and fit it all in around our own lives. It’s a must that we are flexible, and to not be often is a disservice both to ourselves as teachers and our students!