Sometimes you just have to write…


random picture of a classroom. This one’s in China.

Yes, this is an example of procrastination: I’m avoiding what I have to do by writing a blog post about not doing what I have to do.

There’s a whole list of things I should do, sooner rather than later. But the most immediate task is the Theory of Knowledge essays I still have to grade. I was on a roll yesterday and got half of them done, but then had an appointment, so I stopped, and now I really don’t want to read any more of them.

Writing a blog is of value, too, right? If I ever get my book published, it’ll be good to have a “platform” – a place where my writing can be seen and where I can promote my book – already established.

But those ToK essays have to get marked because there’s a deadline coming up for predicted grades. It’s just that I find it so hard to concentrate on them. Here are a couple of the six possible essay topics:

  • In what ways may disagreement aid the pursuit of knowledge in the natural and human sciences?
  • “Only seeing general patterns can give us knowledge. Only seeing particular examples can give us understanding.” To what extent do you agree with these assertions?

Now picture a typical teenager, about 17 or 18 years old. Picture that teenager attempting to marshal his or her thoughts into enough logical order to make a go of a question like these.

That’s right: it would be a struggle. Actually, I’d have a hard time with them too. Now, to be fair, some of them have done a decent job of it, helped by the fact that I (or the other ToK teacher) was allowed to read a first draft and give comments before they handed in this final version. But some of them haven’t. Either they never handed in a rough draft or they didn’t take the advice.

So some of these are just painful to read. Some of them are so convoluted that I literally find my eyes drooping. I end up reading the same sentence over and over trying to stay focused enough to get what they’re saying. I have trouble following their reasoning, and sometimes I’m astonished at the things they allow through. One of them, after giving an example, added:

But I believe it to be an appropriate example as it is a more personal example and allows me to channel my personal opinion in a more efficient manner.

Hmm. That clears it up.

Another one points out that Einstein and Bohr disagreed about quantum mechanics, as an example of how scientists disagree. Then he adds:

However, I personally never occupied myself with attempting to grasp a solid understanding of quantum mechanics so there is not much I can say on this topic.

So why did you include it then?

One of the beauties, though, of the grading system of the International Baccalaureate, is that it emphasizes what students do well, rather than focusing on what’s wrong. So a mistake like these will not affect their grade too much if the rest of the essay is good. Still, it makes them hard to read.

So I don’t want to. So I’m writing this blog entry instead. And after this, I’ll go eat my lunch. And maybe watch a bit of TV.

What do you do to procrastinate? Go ahead and add a comment below!

(A note to any of my current students who might have found your way to this blog: I’m talking about your classmates, not you! Your essay was excellent!  )


4 comments on “Procrastination

  1. Beth Camp
    March 2, 2013

    I’m getting ready to hit the road on Monday morning early. My office is disorganized and my packing half done as I stare at a long list of “to do” and I can’t write this morning. Being part of a weekly blog/writing challenge helps me stay focused. But sometimes, procrastination is a way of allowing yourself to think deeply about something. That’s when I have a “do it different day” OR tackle the hardest job on my list to get it out of the way. And don’t worry about creating a platform. That’s just the first in a verrry long list of “to do’s” once you publish. Each step takes vision, courage, and tenacity. So thank you for writing. Persevere! Beth http://bethandwriting.blogspot.com

    • rachela
      March 2, 2013

      Thanks for the encouragement! I sometimes do the same thing: that’s why I’ve used the word “ruminations” here. I ruminate over a problem or an issue, sometimes for weeks, and then can often sit down and produce whatever it is that I need to produce all in one go. It works even for quite big jobs. It just sits in the back of my brain all that time and then comes out fully-formed.

  2. Pingback: Big Stuff (for me!) « RACHEL'S RUMINATIONS

  3. Pingback: B is for Blogging « RACHEL'S RUMINATIONS

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This entry was posted on March 2, 2013 by in Being a Teacher and tagged , , .
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