As parents, we try to make the road to adulthood as smooth as possible for our children. At least, that’s what Scott and I do. If we can see a pothole ahead, we try to run ahead and be sure the round pothole cover is securely in place so the child does not fall in. However, we have to be careful to allow the child to fall once in a while so they will learn how to recover. We don’t always need to prevent them from falling, but need to be there to help them get back on their feet. It’s like when an infant is learning to go back to sleep in the middle of the night. These days are behind us now, but we have spent many hours standing just out of sight of a child who is learning to go back to sleep without behind held.
I’ve got movie quotes running through my head today. This one says it well. Can you name it?
Well you can`t never let anything happen to him. Then nothing would ever happen to him. Not much fun for little Harpo.
Over the last week, I have seen this principle in action twice.
This first one happened while Emily was playing in the piano festival last week. If you’ve watched the video,
then you know that she ran into a tough spot where she couldn’t find the “darn F#.” As she searched for the note and even looked over at me with a look of desperation, I wanted so badly to run up to the piano and show her the correct note. But, I didn’t and she persevered through the rough spot and finished her songs great! She did it herself. It’s good for her self-esteem to know she did it all by herself.
The other time this happened was with the online course I taught this semester. The course was called “Integrating Technology into the Curriculum.” I taught future educators how to use various Microsoft Office applications as teaching aides. The students built a unit with four lessons that include technology as part of the learning process. I had 14 students. The class went very well. I was quite impressed with the abilities of the students to design lessons for students of various grade levels and content areas. One student even created a unit for a PE class! WOW!
Each week of the course, there was an assignment due by Midnight on Sunday night. I varied from that schedule a couple weeks, but for the most part assignments were coming in every Sunday night. Every Monday, I emailed the students a status report showing them their grade and an outline of what would be going on that week. This information was also available in several places on the course site. I wanted to be sure my students knew exactly what was expected of them.
Last week was the final week of the term. The final portfolio was due on Saturday night. They had several assignments due throughout the week, so I emailed the group on Monday morning to remind them of the schedule of due dates for the week. They had an assignment due on Tuesday, so I contacted them again on Wednesday with a status report and another reminder of the due date for the remaining assignments. There was something due on Thursday. On Friday, the students received a grade report for everything except their final portfolio and another reminder that the portfolios were due on Saturday. I was doing everything in my power to make the path smooth for them to be successful in the course.
On Saturday, 13 portfolios arrived in my digital drop box.
I was devastated. I immediately started racking my brain trying to determine what should I do. I felt like the woman who turned her house upside down looking for that last coin. Is there more I could have done? Was there an emergency that prevented my student from getting to the computer and contacting me? So, I emailed the student and waited for a response. The response never came. The portfolio did finally come in on Sunday evening. I emailed the student inquiring about the lateness of the submission. Again, the response never came.
My grades have been submitted to the registrar. The student will have to learn this lesson the hard way.
Which brings me to another movie quote that’s been going through my mind lately…
Look kid, we can do this the easy way or the hard way. (CRASH) … the easy way…