Teaching as an adjunct can be a lot of fun. It is also challenging. As I have encountered a number of situations, I realize such a blog can be helpful, both to me and to others.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Learning Responsibility

The more teaching I do on the college level, the more I try to assess the way I work with my son on his school work and wonder if I am properly preparing him for the time when he gets to college.

First of, my son is still in grade school, so the situation is different. He does have certain learning issues (as did his old man at that age) but he is very bright. Still, there are times he becomes angry and violent if we try and get him to focus on his homework and he does not want to. Still, my wife and I try not to ignore things and, for the most part, make sure his homework is done.

One reason we do this is, habits learned now are valuable and often times remain the same habits one follows when one grows up and gets into high school and college. Due to a Jewish Holiday, my son was not in school the beginning of last week (Monday and Tuesday). We did get a list of the homework items he missed and he got those things done.

One thing that he missed, however, was getting together with his group that is reading a book. Each member of the group has an assignment to do and those assignments are determined on Monday. The work is due on Friday. Thursday night I learned that my son had not checked with the rest of the group to determine what assignment was his responsibility.

I told my son that he should call the people in his group and find out what job was his. First, my son did not feel comfortable calling classmates when he did not know any of the families and outside of school might not be particularly friendly with these people. I tried to encourage him to do so but he refused. Ultimately, I put the calls in. I am still not sure if I should have done that because it was me doing something that was his responsibility. Still, we made a compromise.

It became apparent that each member of the group only knew his/her job. I ended up calling everyone in his group and asked each person what job they had. Since there were a couple of people I could not reach, I narrowed it down to one of three jobs. Here is the compromise. I narrowed it down to one of three jobs and my son agreed to do all three jobs even though only one was his responsibility. This way, he would have his assignment done no matter what.

So, I did part of his responsibilities in making the call but I insisted and oversaw that he do all of the work, more than he should have done, so he could get his job taken care of. Hopefully, in the future, he will remain to check what job he has if he is not in school when it is assigned. Hopefully, in the future, he will have developed good habits from this experience.