It often feels like deadlines have become a thing of the past. In a time long ago, if something was due, it was actually due. If it didn’t get handed in, the score was zero. End of story, no questions asked.
However, the shift towards mastery-based learning, with its mantra that “learning is the constant, and time is the variable”, seems to have created a misconception that deadlines are flexible and non-existent. “Farmington deadlines” are increasingly becoming a punchline, and the lack of seriousness about doing completing and submitting work in a timely manner is a common mindset amongst students.
Teachers are expected to grade assignments as they are turned in at our convenience. If teachers try to hold students accountable, we appeal to teachers, counselors, and parents in an attempt to get another free pass.
In the end, students are accustomed to a culture where nothing needs to be taken seriously. In a sense, it’s part of a broader cultural trend: we demand instant gratification from others, whether it’s expecting our texts to be replied to instantly, our coffee to be served quickly, and for TV to be available any time, anywhere. BUT, we don’t adhere to the deadlines of others.
The free passes we are getting from teachers are not teaching us anything about living in this world.
Our flexibility about deadlines is a way of saying that we don’t feel the need to follow the expectations that we so often impose on others.
The mentality that we aren’t subject to these rules of society isn’t just unrealistic; it’s downright setting us up to fail. From what some of our graduated friends and older siblings tell us, a college professor shows little remorse in giving a zero for a late assignment. Our parents tell us that if you are late to work, there is typically a consequence. The airplane doesn’t wait for us to board if we show up late.
Perhaps as a staff, we’ve become more aware of the dirty word, deadline. If our articles are not submitted by the deadline, our adviser tells us, “This course runs on deadlines.” Our stories don’t get published. We learn something different when this happens; we have to be be self-driven enough to meet the deadline. Punctuality is a value worth living by and its standard is worth maintaining.