Friday, February 10, 2012

Meeting Deadlines

Teaching students the importance of meeting deadlines is not easy sometimes. Some kids just get it, while others procrastinate and then expect someone to pick up the slack, because they have been trained that someone always will.

Here are some coping mechanisms, their good side and bad sides...

Things I have learned that do work, but require the right framework:
1) A zero on their progress report that their parent cares about (or that the student cares about.) Bad side - this can cause students with tense parental relationships to respond with hatred to your work load. In the case of yearbook, this can be incredibly problematic. Also, make sure that if you do this, you speak with the parent about why they have received the zero and that it is also in your syllabus.
2) Possible "Firing" discussion - not easy for you to do during your work time and staff time, but if you can get them to visit you outside of class, sometimes this helps. Make sure this is not a public reprimand, but a private conversation.
3) Seat Change - sometimes the reason things aren't completed is because of distraction. Sometimes they need the seat closest to you, the adviser, and the watchful eye of you and your top editors to make sure things are executed correctly.

Things that do not work:
1) Empty threats.
2) Doing it for them
3) Having your editors pick up the slack

Things to do to prepare for it (always, always, be prepared)
1) Do not overload your editors. Give them very few pages and mostly managing skills, this should open them up enough to have time to work with your students experiencing deadline-death.
2) Do not overload yourself. If you don't have time to work with your students, you won't be able to encourage them to execute their duties.
3) Never set the deadline with the printer's deadline. This one if one that I struggle with every year, especially given that our school schedule and activities change almost yearly, but do your best to plan well ahead in case something arises and changes.
4) Keep the staff meeting. Yes, weekly staff meetings may be a pain, and you may feel it takes away from their work time, but a student who is on top of their load will only be reinvigorated by the knowledge that they are on top of it, and sometimes these meetings help you pinpoint who is slipping. Allow your EIC and ME to manage the meeting, as that will offer you the ability to gauge your staff on what they are doing.

Any others? Add them in comments below!