Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Wisdom learned too late

Dear students,

This is a letter to you about procrastination. Some people say, "Procrastination is an art." Some people glamorize procrastination - they thrill in the rush of adrenaline when a deadline is looming and the 10 page research paper is barely half finished.

Well, as with most real life things that have been glamorized, it really isn't all that glamorous at all.

It is not glamorous to find yourself unpacked, unplanned, and barely having enough time to order foreign currency on the eve of an international trip.

It is not glamorous to find yourself trying to submit an application online on the evening it is due and discover that the bandwidth is clogged like the drain pipe of Rapunzel.

It is not glamorous to be running late to a job interview, get stuck in traffic, and rush to the BART and bus, arriving at the interview site sweaty and disheveled.

It is not glamorous to know that you had plenty of time to do all the things that need to be done beforehand, but get lulled into a false sense of security and thus spend WAY too much time reading blogs only to discover that all that time you had? Well, it's gone and you have to make quick decisions on important things, which by the way you are most definitely not good at, and thus make several mistakes that would not have been made if you had just done all that stuff beforehand.

Thus, I promise my students that I will create micro-deadlines for them. So that they will learn never to procrastinate. To always pace themselves, be conscious of the time, the day, and the amount of work needed to be done in the allotted time.

Is this "baby-ing" the students? Perhaps. But the end goal is for students to practice and master the art of being aware of the time they have for doing the stuff that needs to be done. In other words: goal setting. Which Open Court enjoys. A lot. Too bad Open Court is being phased out as soon as SCUSD get enough money to buy new curriculum. Which may be never, so I guess that's ok.

In any case, procrastination is not as cool as it may seem. The people who procrastinate can brag all they want about doing things last minute, but I care more about you, my students, and your bragging rights on having accomplished something well and in a timely fashion.

Ms. Ng

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