Monday, January 8, 2018

Unrealistic Timelines and the Stress it Causes by: Jack Michael

When I walk into a classroom there is always a schedule. No matter how ridged or flexible it is, there is no avoiding a schedule. It keeps teachers and students honest on classwork and accomplishes everything that is needed for that year. Schedules are necessary in life for the same reasons, but often time’s schedules change and have to be rewritten. Why is it that our schedule for our normal lives can be changed, but a classroom schedule has to stay the same? In a ridged classroom schedule there is no room for error. You can’t miss a test, quiz, homework assignment or the class won’t accomplish it needs to for that year, but what happens when a student doesn’t understand a topic? In this classroom schedule they would be left behind. In this blog I intend to show you the pitfalls of an unrealistic timeline not only with the classroom that has the unrealistic timeline but the classes around it. 

First I want to talk about the stress this class adds before a student even walks in. When I know I am about to enter a classroom that has an unrealistic timeline, I become extremely stressed out. I believe that I must give 110% of my attention because if I don't understand one topic, I will fall behind, thus making me catch up then resulting in a larger workload then moving to failed quizzes and tests until finally we move to the next topic. Sometimes the next topic is building on the previous topic, and then resulting in even more pain. 

Secondly I want to talk about the workload. As I said in the previous paragraph, If a student were to fall behind they obviously have to work a tremendous amount just to catch up with the class, but what about the students that are “on schedule.” In my personal experience, when I am “on schedule” I end up collectively spending more time on that class than on any other. I will often times push away other assignments, extra curricular activities, and things that I enjoy doing so I can stay on track for that specific class. Also, the teachers of a class that has an unrealistic timeline will push them to provide more homework so students are able to stay on track. This eventually becomes an extremely daunting task for students to stay on top of. 

Third I want to discuss the effect an unrealistic schedule puts on other classes. In my experience, the class with an unrealistic schedule often consumes my time and I push away other classes’ assignments (as I said in the previous paragraph,) but this is more than just doing less work for other classes. This also affects my performance in other classes. When I push away other classes’ assignments, I do not get the reinforcement that the homework would provide if I had did it. I also have less time to study for exams in other classes because I am worried about my grade in the class with a ridged schedule. Overall, My grades drop in other classes because of the stress the timeline causes. 

How to prevent a ridged schedule/how to evaluate if your schedule is stressful during the year:

While creating a schedule, make sure you put yourself in the shoes of a student that has fallen behind in your class, are they able to catch up? If you feel that it would be difficult to catch up to your class then your schedule may be to ridged. Also you should include a few catch-up days so your students have a chance in-class to stay on track. 

This is how you evaluate your classroom during the year to make sure your classroom is not to unrealistic. You always need to make sure that you do not feel like your trying to get to a certain point every day. If you are trying to reach a point or place then you might be too unrealistic, but the best way to evaluate if your classroom schedule is too ridged is to ask your students. Ask your students if they class is too stressful or they feel like the class goes to fast for them. Any way a student is able to talk to you about how they feel in your classroom is the best way to fix and edit your classroom. 

1 comment:

  1. Yes Jack, timelines SHOULD be flexible and I loved your distinction between schedules in life vs schedules in school (which are often inflexible). We have to be so mindful of those things.