The real March madness

April 4, 2011, 10:12 p.m. | By Eli Schwadron | 13 years, 1 month ago

Last week, most Blazers were hustling and bustling to turn in late work, running all over Blair to talk to teachers, staying up until dawn cramming for tests – all the while frequenting Edline as though it were Facebook or Twitter. What is the meaning of all of this? For a minority of people, this is school on a regular basis. For most kids, the act of going ham on schoolwork doesn't take place until the end of the quarter.

If you're a Blazer who relies on make-up assignments to raise your grade, it's important to establish a good relationship with your teachers so that they're more accepting of your late work come end-of-quarter time.  Photo courtesy of Molly Ellison.

Breathe easy, Blazers. It is now officially the fourth quarter. You can now resume your procrastination until June rolls around, when another round of stress and panic over grades will send students into a last minute frenzy. But if you, like me, are tired of this hectic process, then I suggest you take a different route. Turning in your work on time for seven or eight different classes is a tough thing to handle, but you'll be happy you did it in the long run.

From a teacher or parent's point of view, the fact that students wait until the last minute to bring up their grades is ridiculous. In adults' minds, we should be consistently turning in work throughout the quarter, and shouldn't have to rely on a week of sleepless nights to bump up our Bs to As, our Cs to Bs- or for the totally ambitious, Es and Ds to Bs and As. But from where we stand, all of this is completely normal. For the most part, the only thing students care about is the grade that goes on the report card. Blazers don't care if turning in a heap of late work will cause their teachers hours of extra work – so long as the process of end-of-quarter cramming is allowed, it's fine with them.

If that method works for you and you're able to bring up your grades in every class, then you're a rare specimen. Most students don't fully succeed when faced with the panic that comes with end-of-quarter mounds of make-up work. Therefore, it's much more beneficial to try your hardest to turn in assignments regularly. Teachers are unpredictable, and there's no guarantee that they'll accept your late work. That's why it's also helpful to establish a good relationship with your teachers, so that they're more flexible as the quarter runs down.

In many instances, Blazers have a legitimate reason to go see their teacher on the last day of the quarter. Maybe they had to take one of those dreaded last-day-of-the-quarter unit tests that will decide a letter grade and want to come in and see what they got. Or maybe their grade is already decided, let's say, at 89.3%, and they have to convince a less-than generous teach to bump up a couple homework points. For the others, who have a lot to make up as Professional Day nears, it would have been more advantageous to get your work done sooner rather than later.

In the grand scheme of things, students' obsession with their letter grade for the third quarter is irrational and takes away from actual learning. The fourth quarter is weighted more when it comes to final grades, so a third quarter B won't kill your chances of getting an A in the class. But many students still lose sleep over the end of the third quarter because they don't want their parents to see mediocre grades on their report card – and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. After all, if students aren't self-motivated, then their motivation has to come from somewhere.

Forgive the use of cliché, but all in all slow and steady really does win the race when it comes to grades at Blair. There's still two and a half months of school remaining. Even if you can't be perfect on all your homework assignments, try to turn most of them in on time. It will save your teachers, and yourself, a lot of trouble later on.

Eli Schwadron. Eli (@eschwad) is a chill guy who likes to play basketball, watch TV and eat. More »

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