Physics Problem Sets: What’s With The Deadlines?

For the past few months, honestly, I had been having a problem with coping up with my Physics 11 lectures. Not that I just can’t understand, but because I have been to Manila last August for about a week—that’s three lectures!

Back then, my teacher was tackling kinematics, particularly free-falling bodies and projectile motion. Yeah, it’s a basic topic for Physics, alright. However, it has been established, especially in Mathematics, that it is difficult to understand future lessons without fully understanding past lessons (you know, lessons in Physics are interrelated). That’s the dilemma that I had when I came back to Leyte. It had been a difficult time since then.

And one thing that escalated the problem was the teacher requiring us to pass problem sets with deadlines. During his lectures, I can understand what he explains and I might as well answer appropriate problems within a sufficient amount of time. However, the word questions in these sets are more or less advanced than his problems, which I will nevertheless can answer if, either: (1) I have attended all his lectures, or (2) extra time for me to fully understand my lessons through self-help or study. Well, I’m quite sure that I cannot meet the first condition that’s why I tried to settle with the second. But here’s the catch: the deadlines withhold me of that extra time! Arrgghh…

Why are there deadlines anyway? The problem sets are just requirements for submission in Physics—he doesn’t even rate them. On the other hand, failure to pass would mean an incomplete mark or INC to the student. What’s the use of deadlines when the ultimate ‘deadline’ is before the computing of final grades? As far as I can see, the deadlines just serve as threats to stir us, students, like ants whose anthill is destroyed from time to time. So, how do we rectify this? I mean, what’s really the point?

Well, I can quite understand my teacher why he requires them to pass them on ‘deadlines.’ He perhaps desires that his students would cope up with his lessons “on time,” that is, understanding the lectures just after he teaches them—and not weeks after. However, are the passing of the problem sets, which is to be just after each topic is finished, a timely indicator of coping up on time? It is even mindful to note that students just simply copy their problem sets from a few who really does them by themselves.

My personal approach to this case about my problem sets is different and radical. For me, the problem sets are simply exercises that would help me understand my lessons in Physics. With this, I can finish this subject with more in my knowledge bank than before I enrolled in it. That is why I tend to neglect the occasional deadlines and just make sure that I pass them before my teacher would write an INC on my record. Not that I would laze or procrastinate in doing them, I just aim that I achieve my goal in understanding them fully even when it means failing to pass them on time. Copying generally does me no good in that case.

How would this sound to my lecturer? Are there any pitfalls in my line of reasoning now? Please post your comments.

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