by Anonymous Practicing Teacher That Cares
We’ve all been there.
We’ve worked a long grueling day only to come home and find out our child has a project due the next day. We’ve argued and threatened punishment over said project. We’ve been too tired to argue over said project. We’ve sent them to bed while we “helped” our child on said project. What parent hasn’t, right?
But as “the grader” we also recognize their work from your work. We work with your child every day. We see their work. We know their handwriting. We know how they think, much like you do. But different.In a way, we are an extension of you when it comes to recognizing your child for what makes them them. So before you start that next project, here are some things to think about–6 tips from teachers to parents to help them pass of their work as that of their child.
6 Tongue-In-Cheek Tips For Helicopter Parents That Help Too Much
1. Use their handwriting–or rather, let them use theirs
We know their handwriting as well as you do. So at least have them recopy the information in their own handwriting if you’re not going to type it out. Think of this as their punishment for waiting to the last minute, for making you “help” with the project, for depriving you of your R&R.
2. Mistakes, done well, can imply authenticity
Ease up on the grammar. When was the last time you read your child’s work? Let me reassure you, grammar (subject/verb agreement, homophones/homographs, and run-on sentences) keep us busy all year long. Even with their progress, there’s always more to do. So think imperfect sentences that show promise, but shortcomings–nothing awful, but the syntax should parallel that of their peers’, not Shakespeare’s.
Or better yet, have them paraphrase what you wrote. Your planning and their polish. Teamwork!
Pro Tip: To avoid the above, Google “student writing samples” to get some ideas of the kinds of errors to include.
Pro Tip #2: Pro Tip: Do not overdo this part–it can backfire.
3. Use their vocabulary level, not yours
This isn’t a college level assignment. You won’t impress us with your vocabulary–well you might, but that’s bad. Stunning vocabulary and spelling and editing overall only makes us more suspicious. Or proud–depends who did it. So, refer to that text language image you saved on Pinterest a few months ago and add in some creative letter combinations along the way.
Look at it as a way to save you time while you’re writing.
4. Don’t get too ambitious with materials
Now we know you are dying to bust out the crayons, colored pencils, construction paper, and glue but let us assure you all you will need is a pencil and paper- lined paper that is. While color is often a requirement for projects–they make bulletin boards look better–students will commonly forego the points just to “be done” with the project.
And copy paper? Who wants to get up and walk to where that is located? Lined paper will be just fine. If you can’t stop yourself from adding color, go with markers. No student would be caught dead with a crayon or colored pencil. Markers are where it’s at these days.
Also, definitely be careful with the 3D printers, wearable technology, and the like. Expensive, and the ambition can be a dead giveaway if it doesn’t match that of the student’s.
5. Be careful with names and titles
Whose paper is this? Don’t write their full name. A first name only will suffice. They are the only “Johnny” in the world, right? And the class period and date? Now you’re just sending red flags all over the project. A creative title! While it’s also often a required element for the project- it never happens.
As for titles, think simple. If the project is on the topic of myths, just title it “My Myth”; an essay on Abraham Lincoln? “My Essay on Abraham Lincoln” works. The same Lincoln essays titled “The Great Emancipator’s Enduring Relevance In A Digital World” makes us wonder.
6. Don’t deliver it to class yourself
At least them drag it on the bus; adds a grit-factor, and can “wear” the project/paper/assignment some to make it look more authentic.
You should have plenty of time to practice these tips as we head into the crunch time of the year for project completion. Keep in mind we’ve been there. Many of us probably do it out of learned behavior; our parents did it for us, so we do it for our children, and the cycle carries on. But even with the best of intentions, the note home asking if you “helped” will be just as awkward for us as it will be for you.
With love and admiration to all parents from all teachers, keep fighting the good fight.
6 Tongue-In-Cheek Tips For Helicopter Parents That Help Too Much; image attribution flickr user vancouverfilmschool