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Students Knew Their Teacher Had a No-Nonsense Grading Policy, But One Scholar’s Excuse Forced Her to Reevaluate Her Rigid Rules.

In a tale of academic standards and understanding, the Original Poster (OP), a high school teacher diagnosed with ADHD, confronts a pressing dilemma. When one of their students, also with ADHD, repeatedly submits late essays, OP must grapple with the fairness of strict grading policies. As tensions rise between teacher and student over perceived injustices, readers wonder where empathy and rules intersect.

The Unseen Struggle

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OP is a high school teacher with ADHD and only received a diagnosis in college. Due to the challenges faced, they’ve made mistakes, like misplacing students’ papers. Despite this, they strive to do their best in the teaching profession.

Setting the Ground Rules

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From the start of the school year, OP makes their grading policy clear. Late assignments will have points deducted, and this is both communicated and documented in the syllabus. A 10% penalty applies for each day an assignment is late.

An Unprecedented Delay

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In the current academic year, a student, also diagnosed with ADHD, submits an essay six weeks past the deadline. Despite the essay’s exceptional quality, OP adheres to their policy, assigning a 50% grade due to the lateness.

A Significant Assignment

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The second essay for the term holds more weight, accounting for 30% of the quarter’s grade. Unfortunately, this student’s submission is delayed yet again, this time by four class days, again automatically receiving a deduction in points.

Grading Dilemmas

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The second essay’s quality isn’t on par with the first, and it’s written in a different style. With the late submission penalty, the student’s grade takes a substantial hit, further impacted by the essay’s subpar content.

The Reason Behind the First Delay

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The student explains that they spent extra time on the first essay to ensure its quality. Their motivation was to submit work they could be proud of, even if it meant a significant delay. OP, valuing timeliness, advises the student to prioritize deadlines.

The Second Essay’s Excuse

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For the second late submission, the student cites a specific issue: the essay was saved on a home computer they couldn’t access. No further explanation was provided, leaving OP to make a judgment based on the facts at hand.

Previous Leniencies

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The student’s past English teacher was more lenient with deadlines. This difference in grading practices set a precedent that OP’s student had grown accustomed to. OP’s strict grading policy was a shock they weren’t ready for.

A Decline in Performance

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This young scholar’s grades suffer considerably due to the late submissions. By the end of the first quarter, they’re left with an average below 70%, primarily due to the missed deadlines.

A Small Act of Kindness

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Feeling sympathetic, OP slightly adjusts the student’s grade. This slight bump pushes the student’s grade closer to a C-, offering a little reprieve, which was generous in OP’s view of the situation. The student confronts OP, challenging the fairness of the grades received.

A Heated Discussion

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Tensions rise as the teacher and student argue their perspective, feeling that the penalties were excessive. OP offers a way out: the student can still secure an ‘A’ for the course if they have a near-perfect performance in the upcoming assignments and exams.

College Pressures

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OP acknowledges the financial burdens of a college education in the US. They’re torn between being understanding of minor delays and preparing students for future academic and professional challenges.

A Matter of Preparedness

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OP questions whether allowing leniency truly benefits the students. By not enforcing deadlines, they wonder if they’re adequately preparing students for the realities of college, university, and the workforce.

The Moral Dilemma

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With the situation at hand, OP grapples with the decision made. By sticking to their policy, they hope to instill responsibility and time management skills in their students. Both OP and the student live with ADHD, underscoring the situation’s complexity.

Was The Teacher’s Behavior Appropriate?

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OP posts the story online, hoping for opinions and advice on whether they were right in their decision. The readers in the forum had a lot of mixed views on the matter.

Forum Responds

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One reader said, “We aren’t talking about a class period or two. We’re talking about six weeks the first time and four weeks the second. ADHD is common. Lots of kids with ADHD manage to get their assignments in on time or only a little late. But six weeks? No.”

Another Commenter Thinks

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Another responder wrote, “The truth is that for many with ADHD, it can be excruciating to get started on a project even when we want to do it, and the sense of needing absolute perfection far outweighs any sort of social pressure associated with a deadline.”

A Third View on The Story

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A different person stated, “Schedules are an integral part of living in a society, and learning how to work with them is probably one of the most important things a student might learn. If this hasn’t happened before, their counselor needs to talk with them about the importance of being timely with their work.”

A Final Perspective on the Matter

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Another reader commented, “It’s the student’s responsibility to handle their timing. It is better they get a bad grade now and learn from the experience than get turned out of college or fired from work later. No one improves without being challenged.”

What Do You Think?

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What are your thoughts on their actions?

What would you have done in this situation?

This story is inspired by a thread from an online forum.

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