‘That’ student…

It’s been a very busy week. I’ve been travelling around the country in my educator role to assess student practical assignments, and I had my own assignment deadline in the latest module of my MA in Online and Distance Education (MAODE) with The Open University.

This morning, as I was reflecting on how my week had gone, and indulging in a some self-critical thought, I realised that I was ‘that‘ student.

You know the one I mean. The one who always just meets a deadline and has a suitcase of excuses as to why they submit rushed work. The one who despite being told many times hasn’t read the logbook or the assignment guidance fully. The one who could probably be an ‘A’ student if they just planned a little better.

As an educator I am frustrated by these students. I know that a rushed piece of work makes it more likely that a student will drop ‘easy’ marks to grammar, spelling or referencing mistakes, and even to plagarise accidentally. When you are up against a deadline there is less time to proof read and sanity check. I long to tell them that if they just planned a bit better, or read ahead, or gave themselves some thinking space, they would make their lives so much easier.

I wish I could take my own advice.

Instead, I made last week incredibly stressful for myself and my family. I worked on trains and in stations, and every spare minute I could find to ‘pull it out the hat’. I’m pretty sure I was a cow to my husband, and I burst into tears in front of my own students! I wasn’t sure of the direction the assignment was meant to take, but felt I couldn’t approach my tutor at this late stage. I should probably have asked for an extension, but that felt like defeat. I submitted, under the word count but I’d had enough, a piece of work that is far from the best I could do. 

I wish I could say this was the first time. I tell the tale of how I once, back when essays were still submitted in hard copy, of driving two hours on the submission date to post an essay through the door of a tutor in order to meet the 3pm deadline. It was not my finest moment.

So, I’m making a pact with myself. To be less ‘that’ student, to plan more, to be kinder to myself. To ask for help. Otherwise I’m going to be stuck in this pattern forever.

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