As we have progressed deeper into the school year, I have realized that I had to alter my teaching to honor students’ access to content material. When I came into teaching, I planned on giving my students homework so that they can continue the learning process at home. I soon found a challenge when I realized that would be disregarding my students’ ability to access the materials necessary for the classes that I teach. The reason for this is because I teach technology classes, and technology is expensive. I cannot tell students to finish their Photoshop projects at home because they probably do not have that piece of software. I cannot assume that students will be able to complete activities in Powerpoint for homework, because I cannot assume that every student will have access to the Office Suite. Most of all, I cannot assume that every student has a computer at home, because they don’t. Even though I work in a stereotypically wealthy area, none of these assumptions will honor my student’s access to the content materials necessary to succeed in these classes.
My school provides my classroom with the technology, and so that has decided where my students do their work. I give students adequate class time to complete projects, and use this as an opportunity to work alongside students in their learning. To honor students’ access to content materials, I also had to be more lenient on late work than I was planning on. If students are absent from class, they probably will not be able to complete a project on time because they do not have the necessary materials at home. After realizing this truth, I changed my late policy to be based on individual student situations and their communication with me about their absence. I had to alter my expectations to honor students’ access to content material and better fit their needs, which is a good reminder to always be flexible in education.