When I was in high school, my teachers NEVER gave me a syllabus. Our first day of class consisted of the teacher telling us (and we students would copy down) the pertinent information.
"Here's how I grade...write it down."
"Here's what I expect of you, write it down and KNOW IT!"
On and on it goes.
It was part of learning experience. Know the information and copy it down so you remember it.
Now? Well we have to have syllabi that the parents sign. It's not enough for me to tell the students and write the information down. I MUST have a piece of paper that eventually (and let's be honest here) the students will lose.
Last year I gave my Freshman English classes folders. Every kid got a folder that I went out and bought.
Each folder had:
an assignment log (a grid where the students right down the assignments as I give them.)
Now I told my students, "If you lose the folder, I take points off."
What happened? Many folders were lost, the students never wrote their assignments down, AND (my favorite) though syllabi were signed, it was obvious students hadn't read what I wrote.
"What do you mean you have an attendance policy, Mr Leab? I never saw it!"
"Um...it's in the syllabus...on page one. You know...the syllabus...which you read...and SIGNED!"
I bring this up, because I sat down at this computer at 7 PM tonight, and it wasn't until ten minutes ago that I actually finished my Senior English syllabus.
Overthinking is a dangerous thing. I found myself asking questions with every line I wrote.
"Hmmm. Does this make sense? Will it be clear enough?"
Yadda, yadda, yadda.
Why do we, as educators, throw SO much energy into the little things? Well, we say it's because that's what gets and helps the students, but I can't help thinking that these lessons and syllabi and such that I have been working on will be looked over...and tossed.
Am I overreacting?
When you, dear reader, were in school did you (or if you are still in school, do you) concentrate on the syllabi? Do you care?
Hey, that's life I guess...so it goes.