Ghost in the Machine (and other excuses we have heard)
Written by Stephanie M.
Parents, consider this a Public Service Announcement.
Recently, it has come to our attention that some students have difficulty staying motivated to complete their schoolwork. Some of them may have GHOSTS in their computers! Computer Ghosts do things that they think are helping our children stay out of trouble when it comes to their schoolwork.
What do these Computer Ghosts do, you ask? They submit lessons to teachers before the student has finished the assignment. In many cases, it’s before the student has even started the work!
- Lkno;ih vn.awmtniurmm al aerln/vf “My cat ran across the keyboard and hit the submit button along with a lot of nonsense.”
- “A squirrel got in through the window, and ate my keyboard.” (really?)
- “My toe hurts.”
- “My little sister likes to torment me and hit random keys just to get me mad.”
Skeptics need proof, so here is my evidence: Assignments are being turned in with nothing more than the date and time stamp. Really crafty ghosts will make up questions like, “Can this assignment be longer than the 300 words suggested?” Either way, the teacher responds and it appears that the student and teacher are engaged in meaningful dialogue about the assignment. What I have found to be true is that this is the ghosts’ way of tricking parents into thinking their student has been working on a lesson, when in reality….not so much.
I have also discovered Computer Ghosts are particularly active toward the end of the week. Fridays see an uptick in spectral activity, also on Wednesdays – before the Weekly report goes out. Crafty ghosts, indeed!
What can be done to rid your student’s computer of ghosts, squirrels, cats, annoying little sisters?
Parents – stay involved in your child’s schoolwork. Open a dialog about their favorite lesson of the day at dinner. At Whitmore School you have a handy tool. Click on the “Details” in the Weekly Progress Report. Spot check (we are not suggesting hovering) your child’s work for nonsense vs. real work. Rewards and recognition for good effort are an excellent way to keep your child motivated – an extra hour of screen-time, borrow the car for few hours, have friends over for a movie or games, trip to the best ice cream store in your town. It’s not that you don’t trust your student, but it’s good to check in and remain engaged with their education. When your child knows that you are interested and engaged, they are more likely to stay interested and engaged.
The good news is, Computer Ghosts have not reached epidemic proportions, but you should be aware of their existence.
Stephanie M. – Parent of Parker and Calum
Social Studies Teacher
Ellen R. – Parent of Alina 2009 graduate
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