Back to the Soft Teacher

I've Finished My Work Early

I have found that when a child is challenged to finish his or her work as fast as other students, there is almost always a reason that goes beyond simple resistance. No child is lazy! For whatever reason a child is slow to finish, there is nothing worse than seeing others get rewarded for finishing on time, or early. In many classrooms the fast finisher is allowed to draw, read, play games, work on fun projects, or do something else as rewarding.

I believe that rewarding the fast finisher does not usually motivate the slower student to hurry. It only makes him of her feel that what is happening is unfair. An "I do not care" attitude may show on his or her face, or they may express that feeling in some other way, but I truly believe that he or she really cares and feels very bad about it. This awful feeling is often heightened when an adult chastises the child for not getting the work done more quickly. There are all kinds of minds and abilities. Some children are fast--maybe their work is too easy for them--and some children are slower. It is as simple as that.

I don't punish the slower students by rewarding the fast finisher. I give the fast finisher--who oftentimes does not do the quality of work he or she is truly capable of doing--harder work that will fill up the time. This might even get the fast finisher to do a better job on the original work.


Robert Scorby Copyright January 9, 2007 (all rights reserved)