When Your Teacher Throws You a Curveball

There are many heavily dedicated students out there who are willing to spend any amount of time on homework and self-study in order to get straight As. If a student is given two or three days notice, they are willing to pull an all-nighter (generally not recommended), schedule extra time with their private Irvine tutor, or cancel social plans if necessary in order to impress their teacher and learn about the subject at hand (READ: “How to Get an A Before the End of the Term”). So what does that student do when thrown a curveball?

college-prep-curveball         Img Flickr user Charlotte90T

The reality of college prep is teachers will occasionally hand out an assignment with a very tight deadline. Most students focus on why the teacher would do this; there are several reasons.

1. The teacher needs to meet certain guidelines from the school district.

2. It’s an AP class and the teacher wants to see if students are able to live up to the task.

3. The teacher doesn’t view the assignment as essential to the final grade and doesn’t feel  they have thrown their students a curveball.

The most important thing for students is to understand how to practically deal with curveball assignments.

Get on the phone and call your private tutor

Many tutors are available for emergency sessions if the case presents itself. Students probably won’t have their choice of time but having a tutor available last minute is really helpful.

 Do your best

The reality is if students look at the assignment and think they can earn an A if they have five hours to work on it over a period of days but only have 90 minutes tonight, they should just do their best (READ: “3 Warning Signs of Senioritis“). Stressing one’s self out over one assignment will only make the rest of the assignments more challenging. Read the assignment; make a good effort to understand the questions and study. Your best is all you can do.

Look for patterns in curveball assignments to save yourself stress in the future

Students should look back through their folders for the last few months of the school year. On what days and what time did the teacher give out these assignments? Is it usually on the third Thursday of the month? Is it usually the day before a final exam? Is it usually after many classmates fall asleep in class? Most teachers have patterns of some sort; we all do. At the end of the day, every student will be given an assignment with a crazy tight deadline.

The reality of advanced placement classes in high school is they’re just really hard. There’s no way around this but to get through it. It will, however, help students deal with the multitude of curveball assignments that will be thrown at them in college. If a student can handle this extra stress in high school, they can certainly handle it when they’re 20 (READ: “Last Minute AP Study Guide”).

At the end of the day, the best way to deal with such issues is to be flexible, make a good effort, and then just breathe. If a student is hard-working and dedicated, things will most likely work out in the end.

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