Can I turn that paper in next week?

Accommodating English teachers, students and the need for more time

Sometimes time just seems to escape, and we fall behind. Despite the alarm clocks, cell phones, and wrist watches, and many labor-saving appliances, the hours just seem to rush by, the work piles remain, and time vanishes. Modern life can feel more hectic than relaxing – even in summer.

This uncomfortable experience that life is too hectic is quite familiar to adult education students who often work two jobs, take care of their family, and go to school at night.

ESL Teacher: What do you like to do you in free time?

Adult ESL Student:  What is free time?

 Many college and university English language students feel pressured and short of time. I’ve had ESL students tell me that “sleep is for the weak” and they can’t afford to get even six hours, let alone eight hours of sleep. This lack of sleep, of course, reduces their ability to think clearly, write strong papers, and increases their stress levels.

ESL teachers, who sometimes work at two or more locations, can also feel overwhelmed and stressed by deadlines, traffic jams, and work loads. Getting to class ten minutes early is a wonderful practice, but many evening ESL instructors find it difficult to squeeze just 10 extra minutes into their crammed schedule.

Therefore, it’s useful for ESL teachers and English instructors to teach a few helpful phrases to English language learners to use when they need more time at work or school for projects and class assignments.

Can I have an extra hour?

Can you give me an extension?

Is there any way we can postpone this?

When is the absolute final deadline?

Do I have to work overtime?

Can I have the weekend off?

Is there somebody else who can do this?

Would it be okay to turn this in a day late?

Can I turn that paper in next week? 

While nobody would ever fall behind on their work schedules in the perfect world, ESL teachers and students live and work under imperfect and sometimes challenging circumstances.  We should, therefore, help our students develop the vocabulary and verbal skills to request extensions, reduce their stress levels, and shift deadlines. Students should also be prepared to explain why they need an extra time.

These requests may be denied, ignored, or accepted, but our students should at least have the vocabulary to ask for more time.

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