Thursday, 23 June 2011

Deadlines ... and how to miss them!

It is 5.00pm and I am sat at my desk at work waiting for the final pieces of coursework to be handed in by my students. The deadline was 4.00pm ... but two of them still have a small but essential piece of work to finish off and hand in.

The dilemma that I had was a simple one; should I leave, which meant that they would not have achieved their Diplomas and would only receive a Certificate, or should I stay and pretend that the clock had stopped at 3.59pm. As you will gather, after much heart-searching I decided to take the latter course of action.

Why? Is it because I am going soft in my old age (probably 'Yes!') or is it because do I not want to end my career with the taint of failure, albeit not mine but the students? In truth I don't know, but ... they have just walked in with the completed work ... and it was worth waiting for.

It is now 5.15pm. The work is marked. The job is done. The course is over. I can now go home and rest.

23 comments:

  1. "I love deadlines. I love the sound they make as they fly past" - Anon.

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  2. Hi Bob

    I believe it is sublime maturity on your part. Why should someone be penalised for the rest of their lives (maybe) because of one hour? All they need is a good lecture to explain their precarious position and hopefully they will learn something else too.

    Well done.

    Arthur

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  3. Dr Vesuvius,

    That is not a quote I have heard before ... but now I have I hope to use it myself sometime.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  4. Arthur,

    I must admit that I think that the two students understood how lucky they had been after I had explained the consequences of me not being quite so 'flexible'; they actually said "Thank you" at least four or five times each ... which was a first! Perhaps ... just perhaps ... they are finally growing up ... at long last! If that is so, then the extra hour or so of my time that it 'cost' me was worth it.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  5. The fly past quote is from Douglas Adams.

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  6. Bob

    I believe it was Douglas Adams, I have the quote on my wall at the office together with "ask of me anything but time" (no prizes for guessing that one!).
    Nick

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  7. Bob,
    You definitely made the 'right' - ie humane and moral - decision because you had the interests of your students at heart. I'm glad they appreciated your kindness and were suitably grateful.
    I must hope, however, that they don't derive the wrong lesson from their experience: that everyone will be as sympathetic as you, and that they will always be given a second chance...
    Arthur

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  8. An act of generosity seldom weighs on one's soul, Bob. Think how you'd feel if you hadn't been so kind . . . a good way to end things, eh?


    -- Jeff

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  9. Trebian and nic101,

    Thanks for the information.

    I am not surprised that the quote is from Douglas Adams; it is very typical of his sense of humour and view on life.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  10. Good on you. What goes around comes around. You just gave those guys a lesson in practical ethics. Enjoy the break.

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  11. Arthur1815,

    I don't think that they were unaware of my 'displeasure' at being kept waiting beyond the deadline ... and that other people might not be so understanding in the future.

    I think that they may have learned a valuable lesson today ... as well pass their course!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  12. I also love deadlines. Our Exams Officer (or Edexcel) mucked up the Maths Entry Level entries this year. The deadline for getting coursework to the moderator was 15th May. I got the OPTEMs sheets on the 26th May.

    Rob

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  13. Bluebear Jeff,

    It was a very nice (and positive) way to end a two-year working relationship with these students.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  14. Adelaide Gamer,

    Thanks for your comments.

    As I have written elsewhere in my blog ... I just do my best, and hope that I can make a difference.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  15. Xaltotun of Python,

    It sounds like a typical exam admin cock-up. Where I work, the blame for what had happened would have devolved downwards ... just in the same way that any success would have been due to the school's 'inspired' leadership.

    I hope that your 'problem' was resolved successfully.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  16. Good bloke! You've positively influenced two people's lives.

    Cheers
    Mark

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  17. The "right" course of action to my mind and Bravo for the wisdom to see it and the courage to do it.

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  18. Mark,

    They specially came in this morning to thank me yet again ... and I also got a voicemail from one student's parents that also thanked me for all my hard work over the past two years.

    So it would appear that my efforts have been recognised ... and that has left me feeling very positive about my work today.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  19. Ross Mac,

    Thanks for your comments.

    As you will see from my replies to some of the other comments that have been made, making that little bit of extra effort was more than worthwhile in the end.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  20. Glad you got feedback. In my role as a Union official I rarely get such feedback, even when saving peoples jobs.

    Im not sure whether I can continue my role when I return to work as thanks or no thanks, the responsibility for peoples livelihoods takes it's toll.

    Cheers
    Mark

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  21. Mark,

    Thanks are easy to give but are rarely given ... and it is a gesture that that people who we may have spent hours helping so often fail to think of as necessary.

    It may be that they are so tied up with their own difficulties that they don't realise how important those two words are to those that have help them.

    I hope that when you return to work you will feel able to carry on doing your best for the members of your Union. I somehow suspect that it is not in your nature not to want to help others despite the toll on your own wellbeing. I know … I have been there myself.

    All the best,

    Bob

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