Sometimes when I golf I like to take a Mulligan. Sometimes, I like to take many Mulligans. Most times, I just don’t bother to keep score. Redoing something is a necessity in life. I have had to repaint my basement six or seven times. I can not remember all of the colors except for gray. My wife had trouble living with the gray walls because it made her feel like she was in a cave. Being a Neanderthal, I liked my man cave. In the end the basement became the kid’s play room, so I had to redo my idea for a man cave. (I now have a corner of the garage that I share with a spider I named Charlotte.)
Today in class I gave an in-class writing assignment inviting students to show their assessment of a dinner meeting between a Major in the U.S. Army and a Sheik in Iraq that takes place near the end of the novel Sunrise Over Fallujah by Walter Dean Myers. I asked students if they agreed with the Iraqi that a different war was going on now. After reading the paragraphs, I can see many students would like a redo. Some did not fully understand the question. Some did not fully support their opinion with examples from the novel. Some, obviously, did not complete the reading assignment.
The problem I face is to whether or not to have a redo. Did I not explain the assignment well enough? Could I have modeled it differently? Should people unprepared get a second chance?
I know in every work place leaders deal with similar problems. A major difference, of course, is that at work results matter. In school, learning is what really matters. So, I will hold kids accountable for this assignment, to teach the assignment again, and have students redo with a different question. I continue to learn that people comprehend tasks at different rates.