Accepting Late Work or Not?


Since I wrote that last post I’ve been thinking about my policy (or the lack thereof) with regard to late class work. It seems that what they learned from the last minute blitz of handing in late work was that it works out fine to play all quarter because this teacher will do everything possible to help them get all that missed work handed in so they won’t fail her class. They know in the abstract that her class is the most critical of all their classes because it is a two period block and therefore they get two grades in there. But all your buddies are in there so it’s way more fun to play all quarter and then save themselves at the last minute.

Yeah, not anymore.  Today I announced the new policy. All work is due on Fridays (always has been), and late work will be accepted for one week after that. I posted a sign saying that, and asked that they all sign it, just to make sure we’re all in agreement as to the policy.  I made a file bucket with six files in it: one for each day of the week and one for the prior week. I will put a few extra copies of each day’s work into that day’s folder throughout the current week. At the end of the week, they will all go into the “last week” folder, along with that week’s packet cover. At the end of each week the rotation will continue, with the outgoing Last Week’s work going into the recycling bin.

I hear you thinking, “Why is she giving them an extra week?” The reason for that is I think everyone needs a little leeway while learning something new, myself included. Remember, I’m the one who let them hand everything in late. I want them to promote, and I know that my class is so pivotal with regard to that.  So I’m starting with a week and we’ll see how it goes. I may tighten it all the way down next quarter. Or not. I”ll keep you posted.


6 thoughts on “Accepting Late Work or Not?

  1. melanie says:

    Definitely a hard line to draw. Absences and the difficulty of the assignment play a major part in my IEP students turning in late work in their general ed classes. For my Resource classes I make them fill out a “no excuses” slip with late work. I enter this in the
    Comment section of the grade book.

    • lynnjake says:

      Hi Melanie. Thanks for your comment. I like the no excuses slip idea. It makes handing in work after its due date a decision rather than an ‘accidental’ oversight.

  2. jamieayres says:

    I LOVE this idea . . . I also teach the double ELA block for mainly 8th grade, but one 7th grade, too. I’ve been really worried about accepting all this late work from my 8th grade students b/c I want them to be ready for high school. I think I’ll try your idea *fingers crossed*

  3. CHAN says:

    I appreciate you accepting late work, and I agree that we all have needed a little more time on some things. Sometimes, we try to hold students to higher expectations that we hold ourselves to. How many times have we as teachers forgotten to submit attendance for a class or forgot to turn in some paperwork that was requested weeks in advance? Does that mean that I wasn’t prepared for college or real life? Absolutely not! It just meant that stuff happens. And guess what? I always had a way to make things right, a secretary or aide I could call, an apology I could make. Students should be given that same grace. I’ve always accepted late work, and my students were always at the top of the district when it came to test scores and not to mention readiness for college. My students knew that they would have opportunities to show mastery in alternative ways which fit their learning styles. They also knew that I cared more about whether or not they actually GOT IT by the end of the grading period than I did if they got it on a specific worksheet or assignment on a specific day. Sometimes we assign work for concepts before students are ready to show mastery.

    • lynnjake says:

      You make a good point, Chan. I do think it’s a dilemma. While I believe that students should have every chance to succeed, I also feel that I need to teach them to be accountable. I have a lot of boys in my 8th grade classes who think it’s okay to play around every day, and then want me to give them copies of all they’ve missed, usually because they left them in their desks or on the floor at the time we did the original assignment, so they can make up there r missing work. It drives me crazy!

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