life in and around NYC is insane

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

group projects

(cross posted at Midcentury Modern Moms)

One day last week, I came home from work to find Becca hyper-tense and stressed out.  Art supplies were scattered all over the kitchen table as she  meticulously lettered the oak tag poster she was working on, as she cut and pasted sections of text and downloaded photos ....

She was preparing the visual for a group project.

Becca?  My Becca?  Prepairng the visual display for the group project?  The child who did the "happy dance" in 8th grade because it meant she didn't have to take art class anymore?  How did she wind up doing the artwork portion of the group project?

It seems that the teacher for this class is very fond of group projects.  And each time she assigns a project, she creates the groups, so that the students don't always pick the same three or four friends for their group.

And this time around Becca was assigned to a group that...well, they were less than cooperative.  She wound up doing more than her fair share of the project; including the poster (which came out beautifully, by the way).  The excuses were myriad -- sports practice, studying for a midterm, a project due in another class....

so, do you shoulder the burden and do eveyrone else's work? do you let the teacher know? what if you say nothing, but the teacher finds out and asks you about everyone else's contribution? 



I suppose it's a valuable lesson...and I'm not talking about the subject matter of the presentation.  In the real world you don't get to choose your coworkers (unless you're the employer) and you have to learn to learn to wrok with difficult people. 

But that's a hard thing to grasp when you're 17 and your friends dump on you.

Once, when I was in college, I took a theater arts class. My partner and I had to perform a scene from a play. we also had to create a "director's notebook" explaining the scene and how we were staging it. My partner and I prepared the scene, but he did absolutely nothing towards the written assignment. I said nothing, but the teacher asked me and I didn't lie. apparently he'd done the same thing to his previous partner. He failed the class, and he blamed me. even called me one night to berate me about it.




But Becca didnt' ask my advice, and I didn't offer it.  I suppose this is another one of those occasions when she has to make her own decisions.  I'm not the one who has to sit in class for the next 6 months with these students, she is.

3 comments:

Suzanne said...

Oy! Those group projects aren't doing what the instructor intends, are they?

songbird's crazy world said...

you have that right.

you've had a few experiences with those projects, too...aren't they just "fun"?

Suzanne said...

Oh, yes. At least this semester, the instructor allowed us to choose our groups-and I've got three hard workers with me and we all have different strengths.

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