Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Pulling the Plug.

As I've mentioned before, I have only one sibling.  My parents spent our entire lives trying to make everything equitable, right down to the responsibilities assigned in their wills.  Now, I have to tell you, I hate any discussion about dying, so when my mother's most recent will revision happened, she once again reminded me that Karen is the executor of the estate, and my responsibility is overseeing everything related to the decision to -- keep in mind that we, as a family,  have a skewed sense of humor --  pulling the plug.

My sister can't handle an emotional decision as well as I can, according to my mother.  Conversely, she's better at handling details and legal matters, than I.

As I am aware that my mother is a regular reader of this blog, I suppose that this is as an appropriate forum as any to confess my inability to choose to terminate the projects of others.  

Case in point, the race to Saturday. 


Glimpsing Reality.

My teaching time this year is split between three buildings -- the primary, junior high, and high schools, with the bulk of my time in the latter.  I have one student working, independently, on a National History Day exhibit board at the high school for an individual exhibit, one individual exhibit, one group exhibit, one individual performance, and one group documentary being prepared at the junior high.  Unlike the students who work on their projects in an elective social studies class for an entire semester for 80+ minutes a day, my kiddos grab minutes when they can, working largely independently.

Technology allows me to monitor their process papers via Googledocs, and their bibliographies on noodletools, offering comments and suggestions for improvements.    They pop into my room and work whenever they can pop out of another class.  These kids are the Student Leadership Club, Chorus, Band, and String Ensemble kids who don't like to miss core classes, so the average "popping" often amounts to somewhere around 35 minutes a week -- until the deadline becomes a reality and they want to camp in my room from sunrise to sunset -- and probably longer.

The documentary is being polished, most of the process papers are ready to be printed, and the bibliographies and annotations look pretty darned good.  The same can not be said for the exhibit boards.

Did I mention that we'll be departing for the competition in 72 hours, and the defense of the least-prepared board is a mere 74 hours and 3 minutes from the very moment I'm typing these words?  Oh, and that there is a WINTER STORM WARNING that makes the likelihood of school being in session tomorrow very slim?

Referring back to my post about the phases of creativity from two days ago -- these are the kids that are living in Illumination right now.  They have great ideas, finally seem to GET what they need, and want, to do for their projects and presentations, and are focused on completion.

At least one of these projects -- and maybe two of them -- are, well, on life support.  As a responsible teacher, I'm straddling the decision to pull the plugs to either a) alleviate the stress and subsequent embarrassment of the students being less than prepared for competition or b) allowing them to face potential failure, learning valuable lessons about time management.

72 hours until competition.  Snowstorm approaching in 10 hours.  One board with absolutely nothing glued on it and two others in various stages of completion.  Suffice it to say that if students are hell-bent on competing, they'd better be taking the boards home to finish them while sipping hot chocolate in their bunny slippers tomorrow.

Because despite what my mother may think, I'm not very good at making the decision to pull the plug.