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Principal’s Panui – 28 February 2020

Meeting Deadlines

Deadlines are exactly that, the time is up! At the finish line, you cannot improve your time. If the final whistle blows or you reach the 100-metre finish, we cannot ask for an extension we just have to accept the outcome and move on.

Why else are deadlines important? They teach us the reality of life, what we will face outside of school. Not getting to work on-time, handing in a paper late at university and not paying a due bill all incur penalties or additional costs.

The best time to learn that fact of life is from the get-go. Having to unlearn habits is much harder than establishing the right ones in the first place.

We understand that there will be genuine 1-1-1 type emergencies that may change the bottom line, this is true for life outside school too. But failure to be organised is not a reason. If you have had six weeks to do an assessment and have failed to submit work at each of the 2-week checkpoints and then are sick for two days, asking for an extension will receive a negative response.

The reality is that of a lack of planning; it also means you will now be working on two assessments, the one you are behind on and the one that should now be your current priority. This creates undue stress and anxiety. Precedent or history with students in this situation shows us that what often happens is that neither the first assessment nor the second one is submitted.

It also puts teachers under pressure. They are now having to manage assessments that should already be marked, verified and entered into the system. If teachers are required to put in extra time to help an unorganised student catch-up due to missing their deadline, that time must come from somewhere. Most often it is the teachers own time or from those students who are organised and up to date.

I strongly believe that in reinforcing the importance of deadlines we will see better outcomes occur. Largely because the work habits and organisation that underpins this requires working with a sense of pace and urgency. We need to practise putting time aside for planning ahead, so we meet deadlines, this is key. Pace and urgency of the challenge in front of us are not the same as panic from leaving things too late because we have made an insufficient effort. It about priorities and what is important now.

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